The third wave of the pandemic has not moved the strategy of the Popular Party president, Pablo Casado, one iota. Practically since the beginning of the health emergency, and unlike what happens in most countries in which the government and the opposition have gone hand in hand in the fight against the virus, Casado has accused the Executive of going against the freedom to limit movements to try to stop the spread of the virus, to “lie” with the numbers of infections or to “hide” the real deaths.
To the worst pandemic, PP and Vox added political tension
This latest accusation is based on the discrepancies that exist between the deceased who underwent a test that confirmed that they were infected by COVID-19, which according to the Ministry of Health are already more than 50,000, and the excess mortality reflected by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) during the pandemic, which throughout 2020 was 68,000 more deaths compared to the same months of the previous year. In those last ten months, Casado has ignored at all times that both figures come from institutions that depend on the Government, a reality that he continues to hide now, when the incidence of the virus returns to present rising figures and experts begin to talk about that third wave.
“The INE indicates that 83,000 more Spaniards died during the pandemic in 2020. It is terrible that the Government denies half of the deceased. Covid is not fought by deceiving society, but by leading an effective national strategy and guaranteeing rapid vaccination”, wrote the leader of the PP this Thursday in his personal profile of Twitter. Minutes later, in an act of the Catalan pre-campaign, in Girona, Casado assured that the country cannot “endure so many deaths every day.”
During his speech, in which for the fourth consecutive day he did not admit questions from the press, Casado lashed out at the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, for his attitude during the pandemic. This is another of the strategies that the leader of the PP has maintained throughout the health emergency: it consists of equating the Executive with a kind of dictatorship for the measures adopted to try to stop the virus and, at the same time, demand more restrictions.
This Thursday, Casado insisted that Sánchez “has not had an intermediate point” to face the pandemic, having gone from “assuming all responsibilities as an elephant in a china shop” to “doing absolutely nothing” and “abandoning his luck to the autonomous communities “, those whose independence and management claims the leader of the PP when they are governed by his party, also highlighting that throughout the health emergency the autonomous administrations have maintained full powers in Health.
Discrepancies about vaccination
In this double discourse, the same Casado who on Wednesday praised the “management” of Isabel Díaz Ayuso at the head of the Community of Madrid during the pandemic despite the fact that the region is behind in the percentage of vaccines supplied to the population – It has only put 25.2% of those that have been distributed, and that two weeks ago the regional president denounced the “discrimination” of the Government for providing a number of vaccines that she considered insufficient – on Thursday she demanded the Government to Pedro Sánchez “efficiency and speed” in the vaccination plan.
“There must be a framework for national action, leaving a margin of action to the regional and municipal administrations, depending on the incidence that each one has, but these administrations cannot be left to their fate”, pointed out Casado in Girona, where visited the city’s Chamber of Commerce together with the PP candidate to preside over the Generalitat, Alejandro Fernández, which he aspires to achieve in the regional elections currently scheduled for February 14 – and on whose delay, raised by all the other parties, except for the PSC, the PP has not wanted to position itself – more votes and seats than Ciudadanos, which at the moment is the most voted force in Catalonia, but which the polls predict a collapse at the polls.
The internal arguments that this very Thursday the leadership of the PP sent to all its leaders to repeat them in their public interventions maintain that same line of criticizing the Government for having the sole command and, at the same time, accusing it of not leaving margin to the autonomous communities. “The six-month state of alarm, which Sánchez put so much effort to approve avoiding parliamentary control, is there to do something. He must coordinate a joint response from all the administrations to be effective,” said Casado’s team in those slogans sent to all the positions of the party, to which elDiario.es had access.
Last year, the PP refused to support four extensions of the state of alarm, including the last one, requested by the government in October and for a period of six months. Casado alleged an alleged authoritarianism of the Government, spoke of “dictatorial drift” and, paraphrasing the former magistrate of the Constitutional Court Manuel Aragón, came to assure in Congress that the Executive was seeking to establish a “constitutional dictatorship.” More recently, Casado has equated himself with opposition leaders from countries like Venezuela or Cuba. “We have to defend freedom as the most precious asset that human beings have and for which they well deserve to risk their lives. That is what the brave Cuban and Venezuelan opponents have done, that is what the opposition will do in Spain.” he said in early December.
The failure of “plan B”
All this supposed reduction of freedoms found an explanation in the PP in the declaration of the state of alarm, similar to the one that prevailed in other European countries. Casado always said he had a legal plan to fight the virus without exception measures. But when that “plan B” – that’s how the popular ones baptized it – reached Congress, it did not receive a single vote that was not from the PP and it was harshly criticized even by Vox and Ciudadanos, its partners in autonomies and municipalities. Of that alternative strategy to the state of alarm that the popular described as dictatorial was never heard again.
Now, the leadership of the PP insists despite this on denouncing the alleged “attacks” perpetrated from Moncloa against the king, the Constitution or the Judiciary, which the popular themselves have kept blocked for more than two years, and where the majority remains conservative agreed by PP and PSOE in 2013, when Mariano Rajoy ruled with an absolute majority. Given the initiative presented by PSOE and United We Can to limit the capacity of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) to act when it is in office – which is how it has been since December 2018 because the PP refuses to agree to its renewal -, and that On Wednesday the Board of Congress agreed to proceed through the emergency procedure. Casado accuses the Government of seeking to “cut the independence of the Judiciary” and of doing “whatever it takes” to “control” it.
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