The only political objective that the leader of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, has achieved, in the distribution of portfolios of the new coalition Executive is maintain the ‘status quo’ of the last Legislature, taking Podemos out of the equation. Equality loses, a leading ministry in the progressive narrative, although with a balance weighed down by numerous controversies, and Health gains, a sensitive department whose weight has been diluted after the pandemic. But not even Díaz herself has seen her influence in the Executive strengthened: she remains the second vice president and Minister of Labor, has not achieved control over Industry and sees how his main ‘adversaries’ in labor matters, Nadia Calvino and José Luis Escrivá, they grow in share of power.
One of the surprises of the day was the replacement of Escrivá as head of Inclusion and Social Security by the ‘unknown’ Elma Saiz to occupy the Digital Transformation portfolio, which assumes powers of the secretaries of State of the economic vice presidency that Calviño retains. Although it seems like a kind of ‘punishment’, the political reading is very clear: he confirms the person responsible for get pension reform back on track as a natural successor to the first vice president if she is eventually appointed president of the European Investment Bank (EIB). At the same time, she protects him from wear and tear during the first months of the Legislature by placing Saiz, a prominent figure of the PSNat the forefront of the complicated process of transferring the Social Security powers to the Basque Country.
It is true that the displacement of Escrivá in the Council of Ministers frees Díaz from a figure with whom he has collided on numerous occasions throughout the last Legislature, but at Sumar they are aware that little will change in their real power: Labor will continue to have limited powers without the possibility of coordinating Social Security policies, which are not only limited to pensions, but also to the taxation of the employment; a toll that Unidas Podemos accepted in the last Legislature to lead the labor reform, and that Díaz will continue paying to try to keep his broken blade intact.
Tutelage of Calviño or Escrivá
Their plans focus on reducing the working day to 37.5 hours in 2025explicitly agreed with the PSOE in the investiture pact, and a change in the regulation of the dismissal and ‘drop-offs’ business the scope of which is not so clear in the wording of the agreement. Díaz has the support of the unions, which he does not expect the employers to join, but Calviño and Escrivá fear that the movements proposed by Sumar will not only hurt the labor market by increasing rigidity, but will also cause a clash with Brussels.
That distrust was evident on numerous occasions in the last four years. The most obvious was during the renegotiation of the 2021 labor reform, where the tension reached such a point that Pedro Sánchez had to place two chairs for both socialist ministers at the negotiation table. Although on that occasion Díaz got his way because the agreement with employers and unions was already very advanced. The only thing that Calviño and Escrivá managed to add was the RED Mechanisman alternative to the ERTEs of the pandemic but whose use has been practically residual, and a ‘fine’ in quotes for very short-term contracts that has not had good results either.
In this sense, although Calviño’s continuity is subject to his appointment at the EIB, his possible replacement at the hands of Escrivá is not good news for Díaz: if the former Minister of Social Security is promoted to economic vice president, he will be in charge of negotiating the economic reforms. in Brussels. This not only empowers you to continue protecting pension policies, but also those in the workplace. As much as Díaz brags about his good relationship with the European Commissioner for Labor Affairs, Nicolas Schmitthe global negotiation of economic policies, conditional on the distribution of European funds, will continue under the roof of a department of Economy led by a socialist team who will not lose sight of Sumar’s movements for even a moment.
Dilute to Add
In a strictly political sense, the balance is bittersweet for Sumar. Galician politics has managed to maintain the same share of power that Pablo Iglesias achieved in 2019, but the circumstances are different: the PSOE is committed to setting the political pace with even greater intensity than in the previous Legislature. Something that has become clear at the moment in which his plan to obtain the Ministry of Industry and, with it, control of the SEPIhas been disappointed by Pedro Sánchez’s decision to hand over the portfolio to the PSC in the person of the former mayor of Barcelona and former president of Hispasat, Jordi Hereu.
A move, like Saiz’s, of a marked political nature that goes back to the movements around this same department that former socialist president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero carried out in the heat of the negotiation of the Catalan Statute, which included such controversial transfers at the time. such as the transfer of the CMT headquarters to Barcelona. This was definitively completed in 2006, when Hereu was already mayor of Barcelona.
This situation fuels the hypothesis that Sánchez’s plan is to “absorb” Sumar, as he tried in the last Legislature with Podemos, although his plans were disrupted by the pandemic that forced a series of emergency policies whose management, paradoxically, raised the political profile of Díaz, who in the first two years of his administration achieved relevance agreements with employers and unions on matters such as the SMI, ERTEs, regulation of riders, teleworking and, of course, labor reform. These successes eclipsed the rest of the purple ministers and determined that Pablo Iglesias designated her as her successor in the coalition.
United We Can He is the greatest propagator of this thesiswithin the framework of his criticism of Yolanda Diazalthough the fact is that the economic and political climate of the coming years is unpredictable and nothing predicts that this time Galician politics will be able to consolidate its project without being overwhelmed by a PSOE that has designed its Government with the different political fronts in mind. that one of the Legislatures seems like most complicated and tense of the democratic Spain born in 1978.