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Letter from Spain #15
Election pacts, plus TBC research & events
Before Spain’s General Election last Sunday, I wrote earlier this month about some of the pacts being made after the regional elections of 28 May, and specifically the PP’s María Guardiola, who finally became president of the Extremadura regional government in a coalition with the far-right Vox party … just 10 days after ruling out any agreement them.
Almost a reverse type of U-turn has happened this week, with the PP’s president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo. Despite his party winning the general election with 137 seats, it’s not a majority in the 350-seat Spanish Parliament … not even with the 33 seats won by his only potential ally, Vox (down by 19 from the 2019 election - which is great news, showing that Spain, at least, is not falling to the far-right).
I write ‘only potential ally’, because that’s the clear-cut truth, the hard reality of the situation; the PP has no other allies in the Spanish Parliament, except for the one seat gained by Navarra’s ‘Union del Pueblo Navarro’ (UPN) party. With Vox and the UPN, the PP can come up with 171 seats, but Feijóo needs 176 to be voted in as Prime Minister, and it ain’t gonna happen … not this time around, anyway.
The reality hit Feijóo very early in the week, when he ‘reached out’ to the Basque region’s EAJ–PNV nationalist party (who won 5 seats) and the Canary Coalition (1), who both quickly said they wouldn’t support any government with Vox party members in it.
So what does Feijóo do? After weeks, months, of slagging off socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (currently the acting PM, until he can also gather enough support to be voted in again), using the derogatory term of ‘Sanchismo’ about his government’s policies and personal style, often referring to him as a liar, or being ‘anti-Spain’ or ‘anti-Spaniards’, due to his occasional support from pro-independence Catalan and Basque nationalist parties - meaning Sánchez is intent on dividing Spain and would do anything to cling on to power - what does Feijóo do? Well, Feijóo has started to say anything to get into power.
Feijóo has gone from slagging off Sánchez to giving him more respect, calling him and his party ‘of the Spanish state’ (and not anti-Spain), in the hope that the PSOE socialists (121 seats) might abstain to allow Feijóo’s investiture. He’s even said he would be willing to also speak to the Catalan pro-independence parties (ERC and JxCat, with 7 seats each), as long as their discussions are ‘within the Spanish Constitution’ - in other words, not asking for a referendum. I repeat: it ain’t gonna happen …
Pedro Sánchez himself has alot to do before he can get voted in again as PM, and specifically secure the 7 votes of the JxCat party. But this is far more likely than Feijóo getting the support, despite the number of U-turns he churns out. You can read more about it all by clicking on the report below:
The Barcelona Connection - Research
For those of you following this blog’s research behind The Barcelona Connection, here are a few words about Chapters 10 and 12 …
Chapter 10 introduces the power-hungry Catalan politician Isabel Bosch (somewhat similar to current events and certain politicians), and with parallels to the current president of the Madrid region, perhaps, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, although I never realised that when creating the Isabel Bosch character. In Chapter 10 she’s in her office at the Plaça Sant Jaume in central Barcelona, the Catalan government (Generalitat) building, where I’ve attended a press briefing or two - and so the research was relatively easy. I also did a great deal of research into previous security operations for major events, particularly the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and what is involved for when a city hosts a G20 Summit.
As for Lieutenant Trias being called to the service station near Girona airport in the early hours of the morning in Chapter 12, I have already given details about the service station in previous posts, and the police procedure of what happens at such crime scenes was something that I’ve been reading and researching for many years.
Next week we’ll start looking more closely at the painting that the Marquès de Guíxols has uncovered in Chapter 13 …
Previous links to my research notes are here:
The Barcelona Connection - Reviews, News & Events
On Thursday 28 September I am doing an event at The Secret Kingdoms bookstore in Madrid, chatting about The Barcelona Connection and A Load of Bull - An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid with Ann Louise Bateson, radio producer, former BBC contributor and presenter of the English language programme, ‘Madrid Live’. Drinks and snacks will also be served, and although the event is free, places will be limited - so if you’re interested in coming along, then it would be wise to reserve your place by clicking on this Eventbrite link. It will be a fun evening and I hope to see you there!
Another date for the diary, this time in Barcelona. On Saturday 28 October at 2.30pm, I will be participating in a roundtable discussion hosted by Barcelona City Council for their annual International Community Day, with the topic being ‘Discovering & Enjoying Barcelona through Literature’. The event will take place at the Museu Marítim de Barcelona. More details in due course.
The Dalí Museum in Florida is planning an event around the book, and as soon as I have a clearer idea of what it will involve, I will post details about it here.
Links to reviews & articles
Here’s the link for a review of The Barcelona Connection that came out in La Revista, a publication of the British-Spanish Society.
Here’s a link to a review of the book published by the Spain in English online newspaper.
Here’s the link to an article I was asked to write for The Art Newspaper about my research on Salvador Dalí.
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