SPAIN’S Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has sent a letter to his new Cabinet members calling on them for ‘coordination’ and ‘unity’ ahead of what is certain to be a hugely turbulent term in office

In the two-page missive, the Socialist Party (PSOE) leader wrote that he and his government are ‘going to carry out our work with the greatest coordination between all of the ministerial departments so that we operate with agility, efficiency and determination’. 

Sanchez was voted back into power last week by lawmakers in Congress, in the wake of the inconclusive general election of July 23. 

o drum up the votes he needed from other parties he had to close highly controversial deals with Catalan separatist parties that include an amnesty agreement for anyone involved in the independence drive in the northeastern region over the last decade. 

In order to pass legislation going forward, the PSOE will need the support of its coalition partner, leftist alliance Sumar, as well as a range of other, smaller parties, including the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV), a Basque nationalist party, and Junts per Catalunya, a Catalan separatist party.

“Let us honour our word and do our utmost to fulfil our commitments to a citizenry that deserves it more than ever,” Sanchez wrote in his letter, which was reported on Wednesday in Spanish media. 

He also called on his ministers to behave with ‘unity, solvency and determination in the shared desire to contribute to social progress, coexistence, institutional stability and dialogue between those with different views’.

Spain's new Cabinet
Pedro Sanchez (front, centre) poses with the new members of his Cabinet on November 21, 2023. Cordon Press

There could, however, already be cracks in the fragile parliamentary majority that Sanchez has cobbled together. The leftist party Podemos, which was a key coalition partner in the previous term for the PSOE, is already threatening to break away from Sumar, the alliance that it joined ahead of the July general election. 

Former Podemos ministers Irene Montero and Ione Belarra have both been left out of the new Cabinet, which Sanchez named on Monday. Since then, there have been press reports that the party may leave the Sumar alliance, or according to Belarra, be thrown out of the party. 

These potential cracks would go a long way to explaining Sanchez’s call for unity in his letter, given that Podemos counts on five deputies in Congress. 

Sanchez also made reference to the current highly charged political climate, which he blamed on ‘those who not only deny the legitimacy of this executive, but also seek to question its legitimacy to exercise power’. 

Since the deals with the Catalan separatist parties were announced, there have been nightly protests outside the Madrid headquarters of the PSOE in Ferraz street. There have been more than 70 arrests during the 18 demonstrations held there so far, according to Interior Ministry sources. 

Opposition groups such as the conservative Partido Popular (PP) and far-right Vox have also been organising or supporting protests, with as many as half-a-million people coming out onto the streets of Spanish towns and cities on November 12 to voice their opposition to the PSOE’s policies.

The prime minister also pointed to his policy objectives for the new four-year political term, calling for an ‘even more robust’ welfare state, lower ‘inequality in education, health and dependency thanks to more resources’, and an ‘improvement in the lives of Spaniards’. 

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