One of the first decisions of the first Council of Ministers of the Coalition Government was to advance the weekly meetings of the Council of Ministers to Tuesday. The justification for this change is, as the president himself explained, “Plan” and anticipate “events”. What it seems is a trivial decision, will de facto condition the work of control in each Chamber and will allow the government control the agenda and minimize the reaction of the opposition in Congress and in the Senate
Keep in mind that with a fully functioning government, the busiest days in the Carrera de San Jerónimo are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For decades, on Tuesday mornings the Bureau met – which qualifies the questions and initiatives – and the Board of Spokespersons. In addition, the activity in the Chamber is frantic given that All spokesmen appear at a press conference. Now, with this change of date, that prominence will be shared – provided there are no changes in the organization – with the weekly meeting of the Ministerial Council.
Another consequence will affect the appearances of ministers in commission, which for years have been located on Tuesday, but from now on it will no longer be possible since at that time the government members will be meeting in La Moncloa to carry out the deliberations of the Council of Ministers.
Less room to prepare the control session to the Government
Another issue that will be affected by this decision are the control sessions and the registration of the questions. Traditionally, the plenary sessions of the Government have been held on Wednesdays at 09:00 in the morning and until now, questions to the ministers had to be recorded on Thursday afternoons of the previous week but with the option of introducing last-minute issues. Monday, 48 hours before the Plenary, depending on what was approved on Friday by the Government. With this modification, Opposition members may only ask for explanations for the measures approved by the Government eight days before, an eternal period in politics, unless the terms and times are modified.
On the other hand, the Cortes already usually have their agenda busy on Tuesday afternoons and Wednesdays and Thursday mornings with its plenary sessions. It must be borne in mind that by having a more fragmented Parliament – with a greater number of parties -, the plenary sessions will be longer. Do not forget that these are days are those reserved for, for example, the approval or rejection of the legislative projects of the Government. Between shifts of defense of amendments and shifts of exposure, these debates may be too long. To compensate for the lack of ministers on Tuesdays, Congress will have to resort to Mondays and Fridays, dates that until now the groups asked to release to allow their deputies to be in their constituencies.
Criticism of the opposition and firmness of the PSOE
From the PP and Citizens have raised on Tuesday at the Board of Spokesmen a new approach to the full regime, which could include the reordering of the time to record the questions in plenary when considering that there will be no time to register new questions to the President of the Government and his Executive once the press conference of the Council of Ministers on Tuesdays ends.
The popular spokeswoman, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo has criticized that it is a “authoritarian drift of the president of the Government“And has regretted that Congress is facing the” degradation of Legislative Power. ” At the Board of Spokespersons he has proposed that the committees of Parliament be held on Mondays and Tuesdays and that on Wednesday mornings the legislative proposals of the Government are debated, so that in the afternoon control sessions take place to the Executive and Thursday Opposition initiatives are studied.
From Citizens, your spokesperson Edmundo Bal He has criticized that “the Government has no interest in listening to the opposition.” On the part of Vox, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros has raised his voice to ensure that Sánchez is making “a use of State institutions” and that the change of the day of the Councils of Ministers “hinders the work of control.”
However, since the PSOE deny that the change affects the operation of the courts, although open to study the proposals that both PP and Citizens They have promised. The president of Congress has called on the groups to study the adaptation of the Legislature at the next meeting of the board of spokespersons, although Congress sources rule out changes being made because “There are no overlaps between the activity of the Government and that of Congress.”
The problem is getting worse in the Senate
With the change of day of the Council of Ministers, the spokespersons will fix the topics to be discussed in the plenary sessions without knowing what issues the Government has approved in its meetings, while until now the topics were closed knowing the measures approved in the Council of Ministers of the previous week, when the meeting was held on Fridays. The deadline to register the questions of the control session to the Government ends on Thursday afternoon of the week before the current plenary session, although they can be changed the following Monday. When the session was held on Wednesdays, the opposition could not raise issues related to the previous Council of Ministers when it was held once the deadline for introducing changes to the registered questions expired.
The problem is getting worse in the Senate since the control session to the Government takes place on the same Tuesday afternoon. This coincidence could also overlap the press conference after the Council of Ministers with the start of control in the Upper House, which could cause problems if a minister must appear next to the spokeswoman on the same day that he has to answer the opposition in the Senate.