In the middle of the campaign for the 28-M elections in Spain, Pedro Sánchez got a bad surprise

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, during the rally he offered this Sunday in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the occasion of the upcoming 28M elections. (Ramón de la Rocha/)

It is often referred to as the “black swan”. A disturbing and unexpected event capable of causing important consequences on a large scale and for which an explanation can only be found once it has occurred. A black swan can radically modify, once present, those signs that seemed difficult to change in a given context. That new piece of information, that strategy or that event that no one had on the radar, suddenly emerged and conditions the campaign in Spain.

Recently released the first rallies to convince voters in front of the regional and municipal 28M (May 28), the electoral polls have already begun to reflect the impact of the irruption of the lists of EH Bildu that include among their candidates ex-terrorists of the ETA. To such an extent that the decision of the Basque movement, parliamentary partner of the Socialist Party (PSOE)has caused an earthquake for the campaign forecasts of Pedro Sanchez.

Basque Country Bildu (“Unir Euskal Herria” in Basque) is a coalition of pro-independence and Basque nationalist parties. Founded in 2012, it has four deputies in parliament and its political boss is a former member of ETA, Arnaldo Otegi.

For the President of the Government, who trusted that the surprise in May in his favor would be the sudden summons of the president Joe Biden to the White House, just the day the electoral campaign officially began, this situation took him by surprise. The unexpected event of May has not been the friendly chat with the tenant of Washingtonbut rather how the government is stopped in front of the position of one of the parties that is in the direction of the State.

The Basque political coalition has put former ETA members, seven of whom have been convicted of murder, on some of its 300 lists for the municipal elections in the Basque Country and Navarra. This fact is the one that occupies the most debate in the Spanish political media and has been mounted as the main one in the recently launched campaign.

Although they are local and regional elections, they do not dissociate themselves in incidents on the next general elections, which is why this surprise from Bildu is bad for the PSOE, good for the right and neutral for United We Canaccording to the first surveys carried out observing the evolution of public opinion on the issues that mark the electoral agenda.

Seven days after this “new crisis” broke out, the campaign team based The Moncloa, that At first he decided to ignore the controversy in the hope that the matter would be dissolved, now he assures that the right wing feels frustrated and that whenever he is going to lose an election he brings up the subject of ETA.

The president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, participates in a political act together with the leader of the popular people of Extremadura and candidate for the Junta de Extremadura, María Guardiola, and the candidate for Mayor of Badajoz, Ignacio Grajera, this Thursday in Badajoz.  EFE/ Jero Morales
The president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, in a political act has asked the president to “break clearly, solemnly and publicly” with Bildu. “You cannot be in the Presidency of the Government at any price,” he warned.

“We already know it, we have lived it, every time the right wing has had nothing to offer Spain and the Spanish and every time they give up the elections they always use the same argument, which is that of ETA”, outlines Pedro Sánchez , second explanation after the one tested in Washington after his meeting with Biden.

But some “barons” of the socialist party also want to distance themselves. The Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-MarlaskaHe was one of the first to react. He considered that EH Bildu’s approach constituted an “insult to democracy” and a “serious damage to the victims of terrorism”.

Another voice was that of the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calvino. Considered a key official in the La Moncloa team, Calviño denied that the government has an agreement with Bildu. For her, it does not mean any agreement that the Basque party facilitates with her vote the investiture of Pedro Sánchez, the housing law or the law of democratic memory.

On the opposite sidewalk, the leader of the opposition People’s Party (PP)center-right, Alberto Núñez FeijóoHe maintained that it is not only indecent to have ex-ETA members on the EH Bildu lists, but it is also indecent for the PSOE to have the support of the Basque independence party in Parliament to approve central laws for sanchismo.

Feijóo has even raised his tone against the government in recent hours. The president of the popular, Sánchez’s greatest rival in the general elections, has asked the president to “break clearly, solemnly and publicly” with Bildu. In addition, he urges the State Attorney’s Office to prevent them from running on electoral lists.

“You cannot be in the Presidency of the Government at any price,” Feijóo has warned.

When politics as a whole gains ground against the “structural pact” that supports Sánchez in the legislature, and on which he continues to depend to stay in power after the general elections, the Prime Minister speeds up electoral announcements that exceed 13,000 million euro. Sánchez wanted his campaign to focus on his favorite initiatives: the housing deficit, the housing law or the generous measures for young people and retirees.

Moncloa has an agenda with multimillion-dollar disbursements. Government announcements, in electoral times, have 6,500 million euros backed with European funds and State income. Another 4,500 approved by Parliament in the 2023 Budgets that remain due to execution.

Nobody knows if this unexpected association of Sánchez with the ex-terrorists that Bildu has on his lists will be able to end his re-election aspiration. Attempts to dispel criticism will go towards the rhetoric of the “facts”: I do not announce, I do, ”said Sánchez about his management in a last campaign act.

The distribution will be for everyone. From scholarships for millions for young people to benefit from discounts or to two-euro cinema for those over 65, which will mean an investment of 10 million.

Those who have spoken are also the victims of ETA terrorism. Among the relatives, some reactions were forceful. Daniel Portero, president of the organization Dignity and Justiceasked the Prosecutor of the National Court to verify if this initiative complied with the provisions of the law on political parties.

Finally, the seven ETA members with blood crimes that Bildu has presented on his lists for the 28-M have resigned and will not run with Otegi’s party in the elections. Thus, the condemned will not assume, in any case, councilors in the municipalities after the elections.

Keep reading:

Otegi appears urgently after the resignation of the seven exetarras of Bildu with blood crimes