What causes a person with the verbal incontinence of Pedro Sánchez to have disappeared from the map for the last week, with virtually no public agenda and no statements made? What is Sánchez afraid of, given that seven days have gone by since the explosion of the gravest case of espionage carried out by any government in Europe, labelled as CatalanGate, and he has not yet uttered a word? Is it possible that the Spanish prime minister might for the first time in his career note a certain trembling due to the political dimension that the case may end up assuming, when he doesn't know what might emerge and that any statements he did make could be disproved by the facts within a matter of hours? Because the first move, sending his favourite, Félix Bolaños, to Barcelona to calm the anger of his partners in the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) has not had the consequences he might have expected. The minister returned to Madrid without anything tangible while the calls for resignation have become widespread and come from the parliamentary majority on which his support depends: Podemos, ERC and Bildu.
While Sánchez remains silent, all eyes are on the ministers of defence, Margarita Robles, and interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the two political leaders with the responsibility, whether actively or passively, for the massive espionage against Catalan independence supporters. The defence minister, towards whom the fingers are most likely to point because she has among her responsibilities the CNI spy agency, said on Monday: "I don't know what this 'espionage' claim means, because when all is said and done it was in accordance with the law". Is the minister implying that if the CNI was responsible for the massive espionage against pro-independence politicians, representatives of pro-sovereignty organizations, lawyers, journalists and a long list of professionals, it was done under the guise of legality granted by a judge? Is this the formula that the Spanish government has found to plug up the gushing leak represented by the espionage using Pegasus software on at least the 65 people whose names are already known? We will see if this is or isn't the Spanish government's way of trying to give CatalanGate a shine of presumed legality.
Because, at the point now reached, and given the international dimension of the case, Robles and Marlaska are the only ones who could attempt to protect Pedro Sánchez from the threat that the scandal will take a further step upwards and target the prime minister's residence directly. In this tug-of-war, ERC has for the first time publicly demanded resignations, and specifically, of the people who have permitted this espionage. If a week ago they were content with investigation, transparency and explanations, that initial Easter Monday response has been blown to bits. As with Together for Catalonia (Junts), which has demanded that all relations with the Spanish government be suspended and that this decision be clear and unequivocal, and maintained at least until a commission of inquiry is set up in the Spanish parliament.
To a large degree, all this is due to Sánchez's silence and, surely, to the conviction that we are not at the end of the CatalanGate case, but rather that there are still some very important folders to be opened. Suddenly, the Spanish legislature has become unstable and on Thursday an important vote will be held in the Congress of Deputies over the decree law on the economic measures due to the consequences of the crisis in Ukraine. It will be the thermometer to gauge whether we are just facing another political skirmish, of the type that happen frequently in Spanish politics, or, conversely, a complex situation of greater substance. The leader of the PSOE, who has had everything go his way since the beginning of the legislature, entangling one bunch or the other whenever he wanted, has seen the dark cloud of CatalanGate grow bigger and bigger and even the PP asking him for explanations. Feijóo must be thinking that they should just search him over the affair, since he has just arrived and as for the business of Rajoy, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría and Jorge Fernández Díaz ...let them deal with that themselves.