Spanish law provides that motions of censure of the Government presented in the Congress of Deputies (the lower house of parliament) include the name of the person who will automatically lead the executive if they are approved.
VOX announced this motion of censure in November and chose not to present as a candidate for the presidency of the Government, if successful, the leader of the party, Santiago Abascal, but the economist, historian, writer and former member of the Communist Party of Spain Ramón Tamames, 89 years old, who has been in opposition to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
Tamames joined the Communist Party in 1956, for which he was elected deputy to a constituent assembly in 1977, after Franco’s death in 1976.
He left the Communist Party in 1981 and in 1988 joined Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez’s moderate and centrist Social Democratic Center.
In addition to this political trajectory, Ramón Tamames is an economist, professor and professor, with a prestigious academic career recognized in Spain.
This is the sixth motion of censure in the history of Spanish democracy born in 1976 and the second that faces the Government of Sánchez, a coalition of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the far-left platform Unidas Podemos.
The previous one, in October 2020, was also a VOX initiative and only the 52 deputies of this party voted in favour, so it was rejected with 298 votes against.
Now, the censure motion, which will be debated and voted on on Tuesday and Wednesday, is again doomed to failure, but the votes against will no longer be so overwhelming because at least one of the right-wing parties, the Popular Party (PP ), announced the abstention of its 88 deputies.
The previous debate for this motion of censure, before the microphones of the media in recent days, has been precisely around the PP, the largest opposition party in the Spanish parliament.
The secretary general of VOX, Ignacio Garriga, on Friday appealed to the PP to abandon the “cowardly, centre-centric strategy” and vote in favor of the censure motion against Pedro Sánchez.
The socialists, on the other hand, question whether the PP, led for a year by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has become radicalized and underline the approach to the extreme right, in a year when there will be elections in Spain and the possibility of coalitions with VOX for the right to reach the Government.
“Either Mr. Feijóo is less courageous or he knows that the PP without the VOX and without the extreme right is nothing”, said the minister and socialist leader Félix Bolaños, on Friday, adding that “in no other country in Europe a conservative party would abstain on a motion of censure from the extremist ultra-right like VOX”.
VOX advanced with this motion of censure, according to the text of the initiative, in the face of what it considers to be “the demolition” of the constitutional order in Spain because of Sánchez’s agreements with “separatist forces”, in a reference to agreements of the Government parties, who do not have an absolute majority in Congress, with nationalist and independence forces from the Basque Country and Catalonia.
For VOX, these parties, which want to put an end to the unity and integrity of Spain established in the Constitution, “managed to determine the governance of the Nation” and decide “the meaning of the policies that apply to all Spaniards”, in addition to “dictating pardons and ‘ad hominem’ modifications [à medida] of the Penal Code” to get Catalan independence supporters out of jail or reduce potential sentences.
The president of VOX, Santiago Abascal, and Ramón Tamames, who despite not being a deputy, will have the right to intervene in the debate in Congress, as he is the candidate to lead the Government, assumed last week that they have ideological differences, but stressed that they are agreement “in the essential and fundamental”, the defense of the Constitution, the parliamentary monarchy and the Spanish flag.
VOX said it sought to head the censure motion an independent, neutral and consensus name capable of mobilizing a sufficient majority of deputies to overthrow Pedro Sánchez.
In the history of Spanish parliamentary democracy, formally instituted in 1978 with the approval of the current Constitution, only once has a censure motion been approved that brought down a government, bringing a new prime minister to power without elections.
It happened in 2018, when precisely Pedro Sánchez saw the approval of the motion of censure that he presented to the Government of Mariano Rajoy, of the Popular Party (PP, right).