In the midst of an impasse caused by the legislative jam that the PP and Cs have forced upon Congress since June and that threatened to halt the 2019 budget due to a veto by the Senate, Pedro Sánchez’s government yesterday received a shot of oxygen from the most unexpected of sources: Albert Rivera.
Tired of the PP using Cs’ help to block the legislative running of the Congress, Rivera surprised everyone with the announcement that he would stop boycotting the process of reforming the stability law by means of which the PSOE wants to remove the PP’s power to veto the budget in the Senate and opened a door for the budgetary agreement signed between Sánchez and Podem leader, Pablo Iglesias, to be extended to other parties such as GNP, PDeCAT and ERC when the definitive vote arrives in the spring. “Cs has returned to its origins: the centre-left,” PP leader Pablo Casado told Rivera upon realising he was now on his own.
From Valencia, the Spanish prime minister responded to the gesture by offering to reach an agreement on the budget with both Cs and the PP “if there is a real will to stop the blockade”. “The blockade must be the past, and the present and future must be presided over by the will to dialogue and agree,” Sánchez said at the 21st Congress on Family Business, promising to look “to the right and to the left.” Despite the gesture, however, Cs reiterated that it is refusing to negotiate. “The budget for the prison [in Lledoners] is incompatible with what Cs and the majority of Spaniards want,” Rivera warned Sánchez.
The PP used this about-turn by Cs to once again paint Rivera as a volatile leader, while Ione Belarra of Podem said “Whatever the reason, this is good news.”