The constant accusations of “disloyalty” leveled at Podemos never cease to amaze me, not every time there is a disagreement between the ministers of that party and the ministers of the socialist side, which, I will try to defend, is perfectly normal in any democracy – but even when the deputies of Podemos criticize the government from the parliament, that sets up the ABC of the separation of powers in its classical version. In many cases, these recriminations are just another sign of an overwhelming lack of justice. The accusation of Podemos of disloyalty to the government of the nation, while at the same time applauding the electoral successes caused by Ayuso or Manueco, and the subsequent defenestration of Ciudadanos – his partner in the government in both cases – shows such an obvious bias that any comments are superfluous. But not only that. There is also some misunderstanding of the political logic in a multi-party context.
Should Podemos, as a political formation, meekly accept all the decisions of Pedro Sanchez during the four years of his mandate? Is it a betrayal that he puts into practice what he thinks? In good logic, loyalty may only be required in relation to the fulfillment of a certain pact or agreement. The opposite – the absence of disagreement in everything, for four years – would not be fidelity, but identity or fusion. And a coalition is not: it is an agreement between two different entities that decide to work together to achieve certain common goals, while maintaining their own particular identity.
That pact or agreement, from which only “loyalty” can be strictly demanded – and, of course, both to one side and to the other – is public, it was signed on December 30, 2019, and it is supposed to guide the actions of the government. That in the course of the legislature issues arise on which both sides adhere to a differentiated position – Catalonia, Morocco, different views on feminism, Ukraine, the monarchy, etc. – this is something that goes by itself in the logic of each coalition government, and surprisingly, that here it is not understood as a sign of democratic normality, but is constantly interpreted as treason, crime, infamy and desertion. Decades of bipartisanship have undoubtedly shaped our perception of the political realm.
But I think it’s not just about expressing preferences, and therefore about simply being able to have democratic discussion. The fact is that the multi-party system eventually became one of the best and most effective additions to the classic “legislative, executive, judicial” triad, which we continue to learn as a kind of scholastic phrase, but which has partially lost its meaning. in order to be. Let us leave aside the judiciary, which, when it is independent of the political power, which is far from being entirely true here, can control the other two. The truth is that in a universe with political parties, that is, in all real democracies, the legislature controls the executive or, conversely, forms an entelechy. The question is not whether these two state authorities exist, and they always exist, but whether they are dominated by one party or by several.
If only one party dominates both Moncloa and Congress, the very possibility of mutual control disappears. Are we really supposed to believe that Felipe González, the leader of the PSOE, could be controlled by the parliamentary majority of the socialist deputies who were his subordinates? Who controlled whom, the people’s deputies Rahoy or Rahoy, the undisputed leader of the PP, his parliamentarians? In such cases, it is not the two powers, the legislative and the executive, that act and control each other, but only one: the political party, which, if it has an absolute majority, is the true power that defeats the other two and subjugates them.
However, with a coalition, the subject that directs both one and the other power is no longer one, but several. Two sides, in our case. And only to the extent that they retain their identity and their differentiated line of action will they be able to control each other, because the multi-party system that is the norm in Europe, let’s remember, was in some way configured as an institutional substitute for legislative control/executive power , which without it can no longer exist in party democracies. This is why, after all, and somewhat paradoxically, the truth is that those who tear their hair out every time Podemos distances itself from the actions of the government and even criticizes it (which, by the way, in good institutional logic should also do the PSOE itself, although such an extreme is already beginning to be perceived as a pure and rigid political fiction) they, at heart, are nothing more than either a lack of understanding of the political and institutional reality of a multi-party system, or a longing for the former two-party universe and thinking from it and from parameters that are too long tuned the views of many.
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