Agree to repairs, not fees

Popular Party candidate Alberto Núñez Figo greets his supporters at the People’s Residence in Madrid after learning the results of the elections held on Sunday.Javier Lizon (EFE)

Let them agree! It is the cry of the majority that I hear after the last general elections from citizens who are tired of the fact that the electoral strategists of the parties are dragging them into sterile and dangerous polarization. It is necessary to change the story: there are no two Spains facing each other, as some believe, but there is a healthy set of visions for Spain that we share and whose major challenges can only be solved together, with what we used to call the Pacts of State. The government that is formed now or after another election (how many?), yes, must take into account that half of the Spanish people did not vote for him. Faced with this reality of democracy, will you try to integrate them into a common space or will you oppose them? This is where our future is determined.

From the whole campaign, I took three sentences: “My greatest aim is to restore concord among the Spaniards” (Feijóo); “Let women advance and manhood return” (Yolanda Diaz); “Let’s keep moving forward with work and rights” (Sanchez) I wonder: are they incompatible aspirations? Why can’t we be a state in which we continue to advance in terms of employment and rights, where masculinity recedes and we do so out of harmony among the citizens and between their representatives? because?

And that is exactly what I am asking of the next House of Representatives: to restore politics and evasiveness permanently. We need the government and the opposition to act radically different from the path that led us to this situation. Because, moreover, it is a failed course: the opposition has not succeeded in sweeping it away despite the harsh campaign against President Sanchez and the government has not succeeded in renewing its mandate on the scale expected given that it has managed the ordeals on a high note. So, more of the same or should we try something different?

We have lived through a legislature and an election campaign in which lies were shamelessly used, staged news amplified, and every means used to artificially create a state of mind among citizens, laden with fear and resentment, engineered with selfish partisan interests. This is how democracy is broken and not in agreement with legal parties on parliamentary representation.

Despite the fact that the word constitution and the word constitutional repeat like a mantra, we have never strayed as far from the constitutionalist spirit as it has in these years, used until the end of the ETA terror more than a decade ago, as a throwing weapon rather than being celebrated together as the unequivocal success of Spanish democracy.

The last legislature was sad and forgettable politically. Although, nevertheless, it has managed to overcome the greatest external economic and health difficulties we have faced since the 1976 oil crisis that led to the Moncloa Accords: a global epidemic that has caused, in economic terms, the largest drop in GDP since 1940 (today the level has recovered, with increased employment and Growing above the Eurozone average(and a war in Ukraine gave us double-digit inflation not seen in forty years)Today we are less than 2%). Both difficulties have befallen society, leading to an increase in the gaps between rich and poor, as well as between wages and benefits, despite the fact that the government, within the framework of the European Union, has put in place important mechanisms of support and social cohesion, which I hope the new government will maintain.

However, I get the impression that instead of meeting the challenges of the 21st century, we are still stuck with solving problems inherited from the 20th century. Access to universal, high-quality health care and education, without waiting lists and better school results, as well as a sustainable public pension system, must be resolved now and with a broad consensus, like anti-poverty policies, all funded by an effective, adequate and progressive tax system. They are issues, all of them, that should be part of the country’s pride, of those things that unite us with the Spaniards and make us feel patriotic.

With all of this still open, the future floods us with climate change that cannot be fought with prayer (although not in excess), a digital revolution that changes the way we live and work, and an international challenge with the return of economic blocs that leads us to decide, as a country, what role we want to play in the new Europe of strategic autonomy that is already being built. And none of this was present in the campaign even though we were there risking our future as a country and as citizens. Therefore, it must be part of the heart of the legislature, if we do not want to waste time irresponsibly.

It’s time to do the right thing, after trying all the alternatives. It is not a question of allowing the list that received the most votes to govern, without further ado, nor of proposing a grand coalition government. No, it’s a matter of not recreating the siege, taking a truce, and changing the pace and story. The agreement between all the parliamentary forces that want, the main lines of the five or six main pending reforms (health, education, pensions, the independent state including financing, the European Union …), the reflection of its budget and the commitment to launch a commission necessary to study the reform of the constitution. From there, let the most voted list rule by threatening to file a motion of censure if it does not comply with the agreement. This is how the constitutional spirit is strengthened, really, we put an end to this decade of extreme polarization and put the interests of the Spanish people above those of the party and its leaders.

Now, I know that “everything in life is a dream and dreams are dreams”. But isn’t it worth trying? What’s the alternative?

Jordi Seville He is an economist

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