Constitutional reform in Spain

Yesterday the Spanish parliament voted ito change its constitution with 318 votes in favour, 16 against and 2 abstentions. Spokespersons for both of Spain’s major political parties the ruling socialists (PSOE) and the main opposition party the PP defended the reforms which have been rushed through parliament in order to include the principle of budget stability.

Those opposed to the changes have until 14.00 hours on 1st September to present amendments. Both the government and the PP said that the reforms are ‘necessary and responsible’ and have referred to a ‘historic moment’ in which both parties have come together to support the legislation. However Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida speaking on behalf of the CiU, the Catalan group in parliament, said that the agreement between PSOE and PP represents a rupture in the in the parliamentary process. He went on to say that the ‘constitution exists thanks to everybody and if it were up to some members of parliament it would not exist at all’.

The spokesperson for IU-ICV, Joan Riado also criticised the reforms to the constitution because of the way that they have been introduced. Gaspar Llamazares, the only Member of Parliament for IU appeared yesterday in parliament with a placard on which it simply said ‘referendum’. He also agreed with Duran i Lleida that the reforms ‘broke constitutional consensus’. He accused PSOE and the PP of ‘substituting the sovereignty of its citizens for the sovereignty of the markets’ and called for the reforms to be put to a referendum.

The spokesperson for the PNV (Basque conservative nationalists) said that to ‘include budget stability’ in the constitution was ‘ill fated’ and rejected the proposed reforms labelling them as ‘unnecessary, inefficient and anti-European’. He also said that they were ‘damaging to the democratic process’. During his intervention in the parliamentary debate on constitutional reform Erkoreka said that his group would vote against the reforms and present amendments to the reforms. Erkoreka said that while budget discipline was ‘an excellent model for economic management’ it should not form part of the constitution because ‘when something which is basic common sense is included in rigid, binding rules they lose all their meaning’.