Spain maintains the mandatory mask outdoors with criticism from all political groups




The coalition government went well again this Tuesday, a move that this legislature has already repeated several times and that is beginning to upset regular members and infuriate the opposition. The Congress of Deputies gave the green light ‘in extremis’ and by a simple majority to the royal decree law that Mandatory use of masks outside, a text in which the Executive also introduces the update according to the CPI of non-contributory, minimum and widow’s pensions.

Most European countries have already abolished the mandatory use of face masks outdoors. This decree was not only criticized by a large part of the political parties of the Lower House for being scientifically unfounded, they say, but also, by introducing other elements that are difficult to oppose, such as raising pensions or hiring health personnel, they consider it a “blackmail”.

In the corridors of Congress, PSOE sources downplayed the criticism for intermingling these two issues. “It is not something done in bad faith,” they justified the socialists; They are two “important” issues. The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, also highlighted during the debate “the importance” of including it in the text. But even from United We Can, the co-governing parliamentary group, the spokeswoman Aina Vidal admitted that they would have liked “a cleaner decree”, despite the fact that they supported the measures of the Executive to which they belong.

The Government struggled to achieve this, but finally carried out the vote with 155 in favor, 149 against and 26 abstentions. In addition, it was also approved that it be processed as a bill by the urgent procedure. Some investee partners of Pedro Sanchez, already fed up with the tricks of the PSOE, abstained. This is the case of ERC, Más País-Equo and EH Bildu.

awkwardness between partners

The Basque pro-independence spokesperson, Mertxe Aizpurua, considers the inclusion of the revaluation of pensions in the decree “incomprehensible” and was tired of what she calls “maneuvers” by the Government. Ines Sabanes, a deputy for Más País-Equo, criticized the same thing: “It cannot be used to introduce a topic that has nothing to do with the decree.” The CUP is not an ally of the Executive, but it also abstained. «The thing about masks abroad is an absurd thing that has to end, but it is because of the pensions that we are going to abstain, “explained the separatist deputy Mireia Vehí, early in the day.

For its part, the PNV, a common ally of the PSOE, did support the decree along with other minority regionalist parties. The negotiation has been done in parallel to that of the labor reform, whose validation debate reaches Congress on Thursday. While the Government has focused on trying to support its investiture partners until the last moment for the mask decree, it has been blocking any proposal from them for labor reform. And everything indicates that it will get ahead with the support of Ciudadanos.

Those who voted against the mask decree did so with almost the same arguments as the partners. They were, among others, PP, Vox and Cs. Ana Pastor (PP) requested in the debate the turn against to refute Darias: “They have never had a medical report to support it, it’s shameful”. Pastor also reproached that the minister never calls them as opposition leaders to ask their opinion on matters that she considers so important.

Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros (Vox) confirmed its vote against a “useless measure” at a press conference minutes before the plenary session. “It is not necessary to wear masks outdoors,” he reiterated. Edmund Ball (Cs). The three main right-wing parties also criticized the fact that they wanted to force the vote in favor by introducing pensions.

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