The XV legislature will start with an “alcaldada”

congreso diputados1

Fernando González Urbaneja| An “alcaldada” is an “imprudent or inconsiderate action executed by a mayor (or any authority) abusing the authority he or she exercises”. A more demanding reading of such an action might consider the hypothesis that an alcaldada can reach the character of prevarication (knowingly unjust resolution) or even embezzlement (misuse or abuse of resources of others).

What the Bureau of Congress may resolve next week takes the form of an “alcaldada” by granting the two Catalan groups (ERC and Junts), with seven deputies each, the favour of constituting a parliamentary group with the economic and political benefits that this entails. The PSOE’s compromise with the Catalan pro-independence supporters in order to obtain their votes and control the Congress Bureau includes the granting of a parliamentary group.

This is not the first time that something similar has happened; the Constitutional Court even endorsed on one occasion that the Bureau had the capacity to interpret the rules of procedure with respect to the formation of groups flexibly. In this case we are dealing with more than flexibility, as there is no way for the ERC (seven) and Junts (seven) deputies to meet the requirements set out in the rules of procedure. Not even by integrating the two brands to reach the number of 15 deputies and a joint representation of more than 15% in the constituencies in which they run.

Integrating the two brands into a single group and splitting the time and resources provided by the Congress is unacceptable to them, as they cannot stand each other, let alone share money and powers. So the rules of procedure will be forced (fraud of law) and Armengol’s presidency will be inaugurated with a mayoralty (her decision is final) in a legislature that will be lavish in exaggerated interpretations.

The “alcaldada” will leave the new mixed group (the last legislature had two mixed groups with quite a few members in each) with only three members (Galician, Navarrese and Canarian) who will have unprecedented resources and speaking time in Parliament. In short, a bargain.

How will President Armengol interpret the rules of procedure to fulfil Sánchez’s commitment to the two Catalan groups? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, the relevant thing is that she will do it, the how doesn’t count. The end justifies the procedure; we start with “alcaldada” and we know it won’t be the only one.

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.