For the fifth consecutive time this year, the joint efforts of Spanish political parties the PSOE, the PP and Vox have succeeded in rejecting the proposition that the Congress of Deputies should investigate the corruption of the Spanish monarchy and the role of king emeritus Juan Carlos I. Not even the scandalous settling of back taxes with the Treasury, arising from the use of financially-opaque credit cards, has shaken the view of the three pro-monarchic parties. In the middle, it is likely that some Socialist representatives have been embarrassed by the closure of ranks that has occurred to avoid tackling the issue, in the face of the constant stream of scandals gripping the Spanish monarchy. The first initiative presented to Congress bore the stamp of seven parties - ERC, JxCat, the CUP, EH Bildu, BNG, Más País and Compromís - and sought to investigate "the alleged irregularities committed by members of the royal household and the political, diplomatic and commercial influences with Saudi Arabia ". The second bore the stamp of Unidas Podemos and focused on the use of the opaque credit cards by Juan Carlos I. The majority in Congress's procedural bureau - composed of MPs from the PSOE, the PP and Vox - overturned both parliamentary initiatives.
The fact that junior government partner Podemos has decided to disassociate itself from the PSOE on this issue certainly creates a situation that is, at the least, curious within the coalition government. So much so that justice minister Juan Carlos Campo warned its left-wing partners that if the monarchy is disturbed, everything might fall, in reference to the Spanish constitutional system of 1978. It is the first time that a member of the Spanish government has spoken so clearly about the situation in which the Spanish monarchy finds itself and of the risk that the regime may collapse. In fact, it is quite obvious that, in the same way as there is a military letter-writing movement which questions the government that was legitimately voted in by Spanish MPs, there are also, on the opposing side, voices critical of the Spanish royal family and especially of Juan Carlos I which are more and more widely heard.
This situation is provoking actions that seek to close off the Spanish democratic system, which only serve to show the contention that is underway in the different power centres of the Spanish state. We saw it on Monday in the Supreme Court's unusual decision to order the repetition of the trial of Arnaldo Otegi, after the European Court of Human Rights had overturned the first hearing; it manifests itself again in the majority (6-5) decision of the full Constitutional Court that the burning of a flag and the specific insults that were on trial are not actions that can be justified within the right to freedom of expression but rather are criminally classified as desecration. The decision by the constitutional body, made by a single vote, is even more surprising since European justice, through the European Court of Human Rights previously ruled in March 2018 that this very fact was an act of freedom of expression and, accordingly, ordered Spain to return 2,700 euros that the defendants had been required to pay, as well as covering an additional 9,000 euros in costs of the legal proceedings.
Neither of these two judicial initiatives is the product of chance, but rather, they result from a desire to overturn many of the advances made in varying fields. The division in the Constitutional Court is a warning and the recovery of crimes that seemed to be part of the past is another, which increases the revelry and joy of the right. These changes are happening too quickly. Backward changes, of course.