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It was no coincidence that, in Congress on February 3rd, the Spanish prime minister several times sang the praises of Vox and its leader, Santiago Abascal. The head of the far-right party had facilitated, by his abstention in the Spanish parliament, the passing of the plan for the execution of the European funds which was on the verge of being rejected, since the whole of the opposition was against it. It's all there in the archives, the applause he leads for the Vox leader which would cause embarrassment to any socialist except Pedro Sánchez, who is probably incapable of blushing for any reason.

Sánchez said of Abascal that he was a leader who showed flashes of a sense of state and responsibility and the effect was to place him at the centre of the political debate, as one more political party in the spectrum. You don't have to be a genius, but only know how d'Hondt's law of proportional representation works, to see what the Spanish government intends by this, and that it is nothing more than for Vox to steal the maximum possible number of votes from Ciudadanos (Cs) and the Popular Party (PP) at the 14th Februrary elections. Which could lead the Socialists (PSC) to win at least a couple of extra seats, through the remainders in the vote calculations, which always fall into the hands of the most voted party depending on the lead it achieves over the next-ranked.

To these shameful glorifications by Sánchez must be added the condescending attitude of the Socialist candidate Salvador Illa in flirting with Vox's seats as a path to a hypothetical presidency of the Catalan government. Clearly, in politics, principles often fall into decadence, depending on the pact you need to make. But those who thought that the limit was reached with Ada Colau's acceptance of remaining in the mayoralty of Barcelona thanks to the councillors of the Manuel Valls group, had not yet seen how Illa is refusing to renounce the votes of the Vox deputies to obtain the presidency. I wouldn't negotiate, he says... but he would accept them. Certainly, the former health minister is putting his cards on the table. When it comes, as in this case, to an operation by the state, you can only conclude that it is not worth beating about the bush.

What Sánchez certainly did not expect is that in his calculated electoral strategy - naming a candidate at the last minute, opposing an electoral postponement for partisan reasons even if all the health experts raised their voices - there would be a reappearance in the middle of the campaign by the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, after his recent visit to Moscow and the conflict he had with the Russian authorities who criticised him for the treatment of the Catalan political prisoners when he asked about the jailed opponent Aleksei Navalni. The fact that the party spokespeople representing 50% of the European Parliament railed at him demonstrates Borrell's political fragility at the moment. The truth is that for the Catalan pro-independence parties it has always been a blessing for Borrell to pop up into a campaign as it usually spur voters to go to the polls, given the historic confrontation with the former Socialist minister who has crusaded against the exiles and prisoners and was a firm backer of the police violence of the October 1st referendum.

Down in the trenches of the electoral contest, it is beginning to be perceived that Illa's campaign is becoming very long and that he urgently needs Sánchez's support. The Illa effect may end up being what it was before: a marketing operation to save the furniture. The real key issue will not be Illa, but rather, how the pro-independence parties will manage a victory that it has practically in its grasp if it continues to mobilize its electorate with the same conviction as so far. It will have the seats it needs, because the voters won't fail to do their part, although we have yet to know the response to a question which is just as important: what is it that they want to do? And, above all, do they want to reach a mutual understanding?

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