PP nets Congress ‘Mesa’ control in Ciudadanos deal

Outgoing congressional 'Mesa' president & PSOE deputy Patxi López (R). Photo: Sergio Barrenechea / EFE / La Vanguardia
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• PP, Ciudadanos deal blocks PSOE’s Patxi López from repeat as ‘Mesa’ president
• Right-of-centre parties gain 5-4 control of Congressional executive committee

In order to retain its position on the executive ‘Mesa’ that decides the order of debates and votes in Spain’s XII Congress that gets underway today, the centre-right Ciudadanos party has had to backpedal from its previous position that a governing party should not also control the Mesa, a stance that paved the way for Socialist party (PSOE) deputy Patxi López to preside over the executive committee in the short-lived XI Congress following last December’s general election.

Instead, in a virtual last-minute deal agreed late Monday, Ciudadanos has said it will support the governing Partido Popular (PP) in its bid for the presidency of the congressional Mesa, in exchange for which the PP has agreed to vote to allow Ciudadanos to retain the two seats on the executive panel it held in the previous Congress, to which the centre-right party would not be entitled according to the number of seats it won in the 26th June election.

As a result of the deal, not only will the PSOE lose the position of presiding over the Mesa that it held in the XI Congress, but the three seats held by the PP and two by Ciudadanos will give the parties to the right of centre a crucial 5-4 majority control over parties to the left of centre in the workings of the congressional executive committee.

The Socialists had sought an agreement with the Unidos Podemos coalition that would include Ciudadanos votes to return Patxi López to the Mesa presidency. But, the PSOE proposal fell apart because it could not offer Ciudadanos the certitude of seats on the ‘Mesa’ nor could it secure the support of Podemos (We Can), which was intent on backing the dark-horse candidacy of Xavier Domènech, leader of its En Comú Podem (In Common We Can) political ally in Catalonia, in an unlikely bid to have Domènech win the Mesa presidency in a second round of balloting by Deputies.

► Read More in Spanish at La Vanguardia, El País and El Mundo …

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