The deputies of the Popular Party refused, again, to put on the "pinganillo" to follow the interventions in Catalan, Basque or Galician during the investiture debate held this week. Not even its leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who defended his candidacy for president of the Government for three days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – and had to refute the arguments against him. Speeches can also be read with subtitles on two screens — about two seconds late — placed under the press gallery and just above your seats. But Feijóo, the main interlocutor of the debate, turned his head only occasionally towards the monitor in front of his bench when a language other than Spanish was used. And he even looked at his mobile phone during interventions in Basque.
This week was the first major plenary session in which deputies could use the co-official languages of their respective territories, after Congress approved by an absolute majority (with 180 votes in favor) the reform of the Rules of Procedure of the Lower House to allow its use, last Thursday. During their speeches, the spokesmen of Junts and the BNG completely dispensed with Spanish, while those of ERC, EH Bildu and PNV interspersed the common language with Catalan and Basque. A novelty that became the protagonist of the speeches at various times. And it led to some misunderstanding.
Confusion with Míriam Nogueras. "Despite not knowing her language exactly, we have understood her clearly... 'Amnesty is a matter of linguistic survival'...", Feijóo said ironically about the words of the Junts spokeswoman, on Tuesday. Nogueras shook his head from his seat, implying that he had said no such thing. "Haven't I translated it well? Well, excuse me, I think he said it," the PP candidate replied from the lectern. What Nogueras had previously claimed was in reality: "We need the linguistic, cultural and economic independence of our nation."
During the intervention of the Junts spokeswoman, Feijóo moved his head from side to side as a sign of disapproval, staring at her, without paying much attention to the subtitles. It also did not attend to the translation on Friday, despite the previous confusion on Tuesday. Nogueras did use Spanish, briefly, when paraphrasing on Friday some slogans of the PP: "Take a firm here, against Catalonia." "Puigdemont to prison". And "before German than Catalan".
Rufián replies in Spanish. The surprise came on Tuesday during the turn of Gabriel Rufián. The parliamentary spokesman of ERC used Catalan during the 30 minutes of his first intervention, but switched to Spanish when he replied to Feijóo in the following 10 minutes. The ERC leadership had agreed on September 18 that its deputies would speak in Catalan from the lectern of Congress. From Rufián's team they explain that the answer was in Spanish because "it came out like that". "It is also important to defend our ideas in Spanish," they add. On Friday, it was ERC deputy Teresa Jordà who spoke on behalf of the Republican group and returned to Catalan during her five-minute speech. The PP candidate also did not pay attention to the subtitles.
EH Bildu intersperses Spanish with Basque as in the Basque Parliament and in the Navarre Parliament. " I'm going to tell him in Spanish, so that it is very clear, so that he has no doubt, because I can see that he does not use the pinganillo, "warned Mertxe Aizpurua, spokesperson for EH Bildu, when moving from Basque to Spanish, on Wednesday, in a speech in which he changed several times from one language to another. His colleague, Oskar Matute, did the same, who on Friday started his five minutes of speech precisely by making a plea in favor of his co-official language through some verses by the Basque poet Jon Maia. "We want to speak and play in Basque in Euskal Herria," he emphasized. Sources of the parliamentary group explain that there is no fixed criterion to use Spanish or Basque, but that they are "alternating" and doing it "in a bilingual way", as they do in the Basque Parliament and in the Parliament of Navarre.
Dialectical exchange with Stephen. The dialectical exchange carried out by Aitor Esteban, spokesman for the PNV, and Feijóo during the debate has blown up the bridges that were already shaking between both formations. In both Wednesday's and Friday's speech, Stephen translated himself on many occasions. "If you and the vast majority of the House had not used the translation system, you would not have understood anything...", Esteban stressed at the lectern. Regarding Basque, there were several Basque deputies from different groups who, during the vote on Feijóo's candidacy, said "Ez" (no, in Basque), but then translated themselves by saying "no". The secretaries of the Bureau, who had to repeat their vote on the spot, did not wear headphones and had their eyes fixed on the sheet with the names of the parliamentarians.
Rego speaks Galician, the co-official language of the community of Feijóo. With whom Feijóo had no problems to understand was with the deputy of the BNG, Néstor Rego, who intervened both on Wednesday and this Friday completely in Galician, co-official language of the autonomous community of Feijóo. The PP candidate refused to make any nod to his co-official language. And so the spokeswoman for Sumar, Marta Lois, reproached him on Tuesday. "I didn't hear him a word in Galician this afternoon in Congress," Lois snapped, in Galician.
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