The Constitution Day event in Congress is a ritual that brings together in a few square meters of the same cauldron an infinite number of politicians, institutional officials and journalists. Under the bitter cold, the morning of December 6 usually begins in the vicinity of Madrid's Carrera de San Jerónimo with the parade of some regional presidents and party spokespersons who then appear before a standing microphone that is installed in the courtyard of the Lower House. The subsequent solemn celebration gives way to the jaraneo, already inside the building. This was also the case on Wednesday, when the 45th anniversary of the Basic Law was also commemorated. After the official festivities – which take place in the Hall of the Lost Steps of Congress, located in front of the hemicycle – the cameras are turned off and politicians and journalists mingle with catering.
The leader of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, tried to get out of the Hall of the Lost Steps as best he could, who barely tasted a bite of the ham plates, Mexican minitacos, regañás crowned with anchovies and croquettes that passed through the crowd, and left the first. On his way out, he ran into the alternate president of the Council of the Judiciary, Vicente Guilarte, with whom he had a brief conversation. Regarding the content of the talk, the team of the leader of the opposition states that they do not reveal personal encounters. In the background, the refusal of the PP to renew the CGPJ if the law on the election of the judges who sit in the body, whose mandate has expired for five years, is not simultaneously reformed. That issue and that of the departure of the five deputies to the mixed group after breaking with Sumar were the most recurrent in the corrillos, the informal conversations that take place between politicians and journalists, and that this Thursday are reflected in the headlines.
Feijóo did not greet Pedro Sánchez. The President of the Government stayed to speak to the press in the same Hall of the Lost Steps. There he escaped from Feijóo while a crowd of journalists tried to listen to the head of the Executive, who is already contemplating "putting on the table" the Guilarte formula to renew the CGPJ, as he revealed in that informal conversation. The proposal is to take away from the Council its main competence over the appointment of presidents of high courts and tribunals and Supreme Court judges. The PP has not yet explored this possibility. Who knows if Guilarte said something about his own solution to Feijóo at their meeting.
From left, Vicente Guilarte, Cándido Conde-Pumpido and Pedro Sánchez, at the event. Claudio Álvarez
In the corridor between the Hall and the hemicycle, several regional presidents of the PP were stationed: the president of the Region of Murcia, Fernando López Miras; the one from Andalusia, Juan Manuel Moreno; that of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco; and the one from Galicia, Alfonso Rueda. Each one was surrounded by journalists or party colleagues, and unlike their leader, they stayed to alternate and enjoy the canapés. And all of them harbored doubts about what position they will take in the debate on regional financing and debt forgiveness, one of the main issues that now confront territorial leaders with La Moncloa. The regional presidents of the PP do not renounce receiving a haircut, but they demand to discuss it in the Fiscal Policy Council, in addition to starting from different positions depending on the territory.
The new Minister of Housing and Urban Agenda, Isabel Rodríguez, approached López Miras and spoke to him as when scolding a child, but without going that far. According to the entourage of the president of the Region of Murcia, Rodríguez told him that they would soon have to talk to address the problems of housing, whose competence corresponds to the autonomies, which have to apply the Housing Law. Then, López Miras met with Miquel Iceta, former Minister of Culture and recently appointed Spanish ambassador to UNESCO, whom the Murcian president greeted effusively and with resentment.
"Man, Miquel! You'll invite me to Paris, won't you?—.
"Whenever you want—, replied the former minister energetically.
The President of Andalusia, Juan Manuel Moreno greets the President of the Congress, Francina Armengol, upon her arrival. Mariscal (EFE)
A lady who did not stop asking for photos from all the regional presidents of the PP also wandered through that corridor. The last one she asked was the woman from the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who, unlike her party colleagues, remained in the Hall of the Lost. The woman who asked for photos asked him for a second snapshot, because in the first one she didn't like how it looked. Ayuso nodded delightedly. The president of Madrid had already had her own act of the Constitution, two days ago, at the Real Casa de Correos. An event organised by the Community and in which the Minister in charge of Territorial Policy was not invited, as he usually does every year. Ayuso thus responded to the fact that the central government did not invite her to the inauguration of the AVE line between Madrid and Asturias. The Ministry of Transport explained that what was being launched was the León-Oviedo section.
The minister of the sector, Óscar Puente, with whom Ayuso is now engaged in an open war over the derailment of two trains at the Atocha station in recent days, also went to Congress on Wednesday. But like Feijóo, Puente didn't stay long.
"I have to take the AVE—, the minister excused himself as he left.
The meal was enjoyed by the second-grade boy Pablo Ruiz, who read an article of the Constitution during the solemn ceremony, chosen because his parents knew "someone" from Congress, and who had been congratulated by several people for the ease with which he enunciated the words with hardly any nerves. Few politicians came to the dessert and the cava. Among them, Ayuso and another of the most requested, the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, who attended the celebration after the shock of the rupture with Sumar, materialized just a few hours earlier. Privately, Diaz was relieved.
Second grade student Pablo Ruiz Moreno after his participation in the event. Claudio Álvarez
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