• The spokesperson for the Popular Group demands that the control sessions be resumed with the Government after Easter and that press conferences can be held in Congress
The spokesperson for the Popular Parliamentary Group, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, will demand at the Board of Spokesmen this afternoon the immediate reopening of Parliament, which includes, first of all, the recovery of weekly control sessions to the Government from the next week.
In addition, the GPP has presented a brief demanding that the suspension of the computation of deadlines for processing initiatives be lifted, which the Congress Table agreed on March 19. This suspension de facto nullifies the control capacity that the opposition has over the Government and, in the opinion of the GPP, goes against article 116.5 of the Constitution. The Bureau, in the opinion of the GPP, would have exceeded its powers and would have violated the rights of political representation of the deputies. If this claim is not attended, the GPP will resort to the Constitutional Court.
The GPP's plan for the immediate reopening of Congress was approved yesterday at the Plenary meeting of the parliamentary groups. The script of Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo's presentation is attached, as well as the GPP's writing to the Congress Table to reconsider its decision.
PLAN FOR THE IMMEDIATE REOPENING OF THE PARLIAMENT 6.04.2020
In a parliamentary democracy, we deputies are essential. We perform a fundamental service to the Spanish Constitutional Nation. We are the first servants of the citizens.
Deputies are not in a better condition than doctors, nurses, police, civil guards, supermarket cashiers, nor is our role less important. We have more responsibility than all of them. The country's first political responsibility. And we have a duty and of course also the right to exercise it. The Government is denying us our RIGHT TO EXERCISE OUR DUTY. This is undemocratic. And this is unconstitutional.
We, the Popular Parliamentary Group, were the first to issue a serious warning: "Congress is not closed, not even a case of war." The Constitution says it, very clearly. Article 116, on the State of Alarm. If Congress had been closed when the Alarm was enacted, it should have been opened. That is to say: the more crisis, the more Congress. The more alarm, the more control. The more exceptional power of the Executive Power, the more vigilance on the part of the national sovereignty.
It is regrettable, but the truth is that the constitutional provision is not being fulfilled. Upside down. The Government – the majority that supports it in the Table – has de facto closed the Congress. Pedro Sánchez has quarantined democracy. And the worst: it is not a quarantine itself, with an expiration date, but a quarantine sine die. We have reached a situation in which Congress only meets to validate Royal Decree-Laws and approve Statements of Alert Statements. And only because they cannot avoid it. Pedro Sánchez said it in his last intervention read before the newscast: his intention is to chain alarm after alarm.
I want to record what the Government has done. And also of what we are going to do.
The government majority has closed Congress. It has been a closure in six acts.
They have abolished the first function of Congress: control of the Government. There are no control sessions or oral questions in plenary session or the Commission or questions.
They have rejected our Monitoring Committee for the coronavirus crisis. A Commission that should be transversal, that should affect all
Ministries involved and, especially, the four that are making decisions that seriously affect, in some cases lethal, the life, well-being and future of millions of Spaniards. They have replaced it with a weekly meeting of the Health Commission, attended by Minister Illa in his capacity as pediment and fuse for the Government to tell us the same thing as in his press conferences.
They have released the Government from its obligation to answer the written questions of the deputies. We can ask questions, more was missing. But our questions are accumulating in the drawers of the ministries, losing validity and meaning. As if the Government did not have enough ministers – poor blue bank – nor enough advisers – legion – nor in Spain there were enough officials to carry out this elementary democratic work.
We have prohibited the Groups from presenting amendments to the Royal Decree Laws approved during the State of Alarm … until the State of Alarm ends. You all saw it at the last plenary session: we won a very important vote. Royal Decree 8/2020, which contains economic measures, will be processed
as Bill. I personally called President Batet. I insisted on the importance for the PP of opening the deadline for amendments as soon as possible to improve the text. To meet the demands, for example, of the self-employed. Nothing. Look at what anomaly, what absolute inconsistency: resolutions can be presented to change the State of Alarm Decree. But instead the decrees that are validated under the Alarm cannot be amended. Why?
They have established a selective method of rating the initiatives. They are graded up to a certain date. Or even according to purely arbitrary criteria. In other words, pro-government. For example: The request to appear at Salvador Illa's own request in the Health commission and not ours by Minister Montero, was described as responsible for the purchase of material. Both on the same day.
Pedro Sánchez has systematically breached his obligation to report to Congress on the meetings of the European Council. Do you know how many formal and informal councils you have accumulated? Four. From the latter he leaked his content to a newspaper, presenting himself as a national hero. The hero of the Coronabonnos. To a newspaper, yes, to Parliament, no.
What have we done against the closing of Congress? Since the beginning of the crisis, we have presented up to 807 initiatives:
– 1 interpellation
– 46 requests for reports
– 684 written questions
– 3 propositions of Law
– 52 Proposals No of Law
– 1 follow-up commission request
– 20 appearances
This is what we are going to do. Tomorrow the Board of Spokespersons will be held. They closed Congress in six acts. We are going to carry out an Immediate Reopening Plan for Parliament, also in six acts.
The sanitary conditions that we must all meet in this crisis are matters that we must take seriously. But they are also operating as an excuse to keep Parliament closed. There is no reason why Plenaries and Commissions cannot be held with the current mixed formula: face-to-face meeting with the possibility of telematic voting. Preserving the face-to-face base seems important to us, but we understand the exceptional nature of the situation.
We demand that the weekly Control Session begin after Easter. If the Plenary can meet to validate the extension of the Alarm every 15 days, it can also control the Government every week.
We demand the commissioning of ALL the Congressional Commissions. To meet the security conditions of the confinement, a Commission can be held daily, in the largest rooms, and with the deputies maintaining the security distances between them. As for the Health Commission, we are going to request the appearance of the members of the Technical Committee, whose composition, functions and decisions we do not know. We only know that its head is Dr. Simón, whose skill in anticipating the crisis and in its subsequent scientific management has been dramatically proven.
They do not answer our questions. We demand that they do so. We will bring this matter to the table. And before the Constitutional Court.
Deadlines. We demand the immediate implementation of the deadlines for submitting amendments to the decrees processed as bills. We will also include this in the brief before the Bureau. And, if there was no reaction, before the Constitutional Court.
Selective questions. We require the qualification of everything that is recorded. If a reinforcement of lawyers is necessary, let it be done.
European Councils. At the end of the week there will be a new informal meeting of the European Council. We will demand in writing that the Prime Minister appear next week before Congress to account for the five.
Press conferences. If fake press conferences can be held at the Palacio de La Moncloa, real press conferences can be held at the Palacio de la Moncloa. We will demand that all the necessary means be made available to us.
A final comment, which sends me back to the beginning: the responsibility of the deputies:
The spokespersons for the Groups had reached a gentlemen's agreement with the President of the Congress: We would reduce the attendance of our Group to the Plenary to a handful of deputies.
We accept it even against the conviction that I expressed at the beginning of my intervention: we are not in a better condition than a doctor or a nurse. And we are essential.
I am going to speak to the President of Congress tomorrow to inform her that in the next plenary session we will attend as many deputies as possible from the health point of view. That is, keeping a meter of distance between one and the other, a seat, up to 45 deputies.
But it is time for the Spanish to see us. It is time for them to know that the Popular Party deputies work on the front line. Not only in defense of their voters. In defense of all voters, of the Nation. Of all the parties. By demanding the immediate opening of Congress, we defend the rights of all political parties. Yes, also to the Socialist Party. We defend the democratic foundations that make life possible in peace and freedom.
That is the greatness of the Popular Party, which always puts its responsibility before any particular interest. Nothing that is bad for Spain is good for the Popular Party. In this case, that responsibility involves claiming something as elementary and at the same time as exciting as our right to exercise our duty as representatives of the Spanish Nation.