Motion of no confidence: Damned if you do and damned if you don’t

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, October, 21. 2020

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer - Abogado
21st of October 2020

Today in Spain Congress is going to debate a motion of no confidence sponsored by Spain’s far-right wing political group VOX. Although officially it is aimed at Spain’s Prime Minister, Mr. Pedro Sanchez, its main victim will be Mr. Pablo Casado, leader of the centre right-wing political group PP.

Mr. Casado has foolishly allowed himself to be cornered politically in a faux pas that may prove his political undoing and even perhaps the demise of the moderate centre-right-wing group he represents. Make no mistake, this motion was always doomed to fail as the numbers did not stack up. Mr. Sanchez in truth couldn’t be any happier at the clumsy political manoeuvre taking place today at Congress.

Mr. Casado is doomed, one way or another, and with him Spain’s moderate centre-right. If he votes yes, he would be seen as a sidekick of the far-right in Spain, giving way to justified flak from left-wing groups as it would be tantamount to acknowledge he's a lackey of the far right and there are much in the same political spectrum. Left-wingers will not lose this golden opportunity to pulverize the PP to no end on voting yes.

On the other hand, if he votes no or abstains, a large part of his disenfranchised electoral base is likely to desert him as they overwhelmingly want him to vote yes to oust Mr. Sanchez from power. In the next poll call it would lead to a great weakening of the PP who would likely be overtaken by far-right-wing VOX in an epic sorpasso. In effect, voting no will lead to a political polarization of Spain who would now have two distinct polarized fronts: extreme left-wingers and extreme right-wingers, with all the centre coalition melting away into oblivion.

Needless to say, this will lead the country to be polarized, giving way to a political instability which we have not witnessed in Spain since the dark days of 1936 that foreshadowed Spain’s fraticidal Civil War.

The only person to blame for this political checkmate is Mr. Casado himself, for his disturbing lack of political foresight. He was given the opportunity earlier on this year to call the motion himself – which would have also failed, mind you – but at least there would be no fallout from his alienated electorate, unlike now.

Today’s winners, of a motion doomed to fail, will be Mr. Sanchez, granted, but also Mr. Abascal, leader of far-right extremists VOX. The loser, who cannot blame anyone but himself, will be Spain’s moderate PP leader, Mr. Casado.

Albeit in truth the losers will be all of us, Democracy and Spanish society at large. As it would lead to the polarization of Spain’s politics and the disappearance of the moderate democratic political forces that have acted as the political glue binding together both radical extremes since the approval of Spain’s Constitution in 1978. Dark days ahead of us.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás (1863 –1952). Was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. Originally from Spain, Santayana was raised and educated in the US from the age of eight and identified himself as an American, although he always retained a valid Spanish passport. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. At the age of 48, Santayana left his position at Harvard and returned to Europe permanently. Santayana is popularly known for his aphorisms, such as the one we quote above.


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