Spain: the incredible blunder of a right-wing deputy allows the socialist government to pass its labor reform


the essential
The Spanish left managed to miraculously pass, thanks to the blunder of a right-wing deputy, a crucial bill aimed at combating the abuse of fixed-term contracts. Story of an incredible scenario.

Amazing. On the night of Thursday February 3 to Friday February 4, the Spanish socialist government was gambling its political survival in a very high-risk vote on labor reform. In a scenario worthy of the greatest thrillers, the controversial bill was finally approved narrowly (175 votes for, 174 votes against) in indescribable chaos, thanks to an error in voting by a right-wing MP.

In power thanks to a motley and fragile coalition, the Spanish left had made this bill – aimed at combating the abuse of fixed-term contracts – the flagship project of its legislature. Negotiated bitterly for two years between business leaders and unions, the final text was put to the vote in a hostile atmosphere, without a guaranteed majority. Given losers throughout the vote, the Socialists miraculously had the reform approved, following a clumsiness by an opposition deputy.

Back in parliament with gastroenteritis

Indeed, Alberto Casero, elected from the Partido Popular (conservatives) “accidentally” voted in favor of the text presented by the government. This vote, carried out online – because the deputy suffering from gastroenteritis had preferred to stay at home – unleashed an unprecedented political storm.

Realizing his mistake, yet validated twice as required by the very strict telematic protocol of the Spanish Parliament, Casero immediately went physically to the Congress of Deputies to try to annul his vote and correct it. In vain: the parliamentary authorities refused him access to the enclosure, stipulating that the remote vote, “totally reliable”, could not be rectified in person.

Song and jubilation on the left, cries of indignation on the right

The announcement of the bill’s approval was made in absolute chaos. Left-leaning MPs celebrated the victory with jubilant scenes reminiscent of the attitude of football fans during a victory. MPs from the far-left party chanting “¡Sí, se puede!” (« Yes it’s possible !).

On the other side of the hemicycle, there were cries of indignation, accusations of conspiracy and a cascade of appeals. The right immediately demanded that Parliament correct a “computer error”… before changing tack and demanding acceptance of Casero’s face-to-face vote. Faced with the parliamentary refusal, the PP and Vox (extreme right) immediately announced legal action against what they consider to be “democratic fraud”.

« A kind of coup from the left »

This controversial vote has become the number one topic in Spanish bars and streets. Cesar, a 30-year-old real estate agent and right-wing sympathizer, is bitter when the subject is broached. For him, “it’s a kind of leftist coup”. Before justifying himself: “Everyone has the right to be wrong and to correct their mistake, right?”.

On the other hand, Carla, 52, voting on the left « forever », is delighted « with a victory for precarious workers ». Still hilarious, Carla wants to show us the mocking hijackings that have flooded the web and that she has shared With his friends.In these photomontages, we see the right-wing deputy Alberto Casero made up like Che Guevara or Marx, or even with a chapka surmounted by the sickle and the hammer.

We find this dichotomy in the media. « Sánchez’s reform is saved from sinking by a contentious vote », headlines the conservative newspaper ABC. For its part, the left-wing online daily eldiario.es notes “a significant legal advance”.

With only 120 deputies out of 350, the president of the socialist government Pedro Sánchez, in power since 2018, sees his future become clearer. He confirms his talents as a tightrope walker, forced to seek fragile majorities on a case-by-case basis.

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