PSOE-EH Bildu Agreement in Pamplona: A Challenge to Democracy?

Politics - December 28, 2023

The recent agreement between the Socialist Party of Navarra (PSN) and EH Bildu to remove Cristina Ibarrola from the Mayor’s office in Pamplona has sparked deep dissatisfaction among the Navarrese population. This agreement, just 179 days after Ibarrola was sworn in with the support of her nine councillors and two from the People’s Party (PP), raises serious questions about the political and ethical integrity of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).

From the beginning, the Basque left and the PSN have conducted a campaign against Ibarrola, while EH Bildu facilitated the investiture of Pedro Sánchez. This agreement undoubtedly highlights the priority of the PSOE to ensure its stay in power, even at the expense of fundamental principles.

One of the most concerning aspects is the relationship between EH Bildu and the PSOE. The criticism from the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, resonates strongly, pointing out that the PSOE is handing over the Mayor’s office to a party with members associated with ETA.

Mayor Ibarrola, equally concerned about the pact, accuses the PSOE of selling Pamplona in a political barter with EH Bildu, describing it as the “payment of Bildu’s revolutionary tax to the Socialist Party.” This agreement could be interpreted as a concession by the PSOE to the interests of a coalition linked to a past of violence and separatism.

The Secretary of Organization of the PSN, Ramón Alzórriz, justifies the pact by arguing that it is not a government agreement but a political pact to give Pamplona “the opportunity to experience a new time.” However, this statement seems to downplay the seriousness of aligning with a coalition that includes individuals linked to terrorism.

The negotiation of the pact in Navarra, in coordination with Santos Cerdán, the third-ranking member of the PSOE, raises questions about the party’s coherence at the national level. How can the PSOE justify an agreement with EH Bildu in Pamplona while seeking the support of other political forces, such as Junts, at the national level?

In a protest attended by thousands of people in Pamplona’s City Hall square last Sunday, the citizens expressed deep rejection of the pact between the PSN and the PSOE. During the hour-long event, chants against Pedro Sánchez and María Chivite echoed, demonstrating popular indignation.

The protest, led by Javier Esparza, president of the Union of the People of Navarra (UPN) party, and Cristina Ibarrola, was attended by Alberto Núñez Feijóo and representatives of Vox, such as the Vice President of Castilla y León, Juan García-Gallardo. Constitutional flags of Navarre were also seen, supporting the current Mayor, and opposing the pact between the PSN and EH Bildu.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo, in statements before the protest, reaffirmed that their presence in Pamplona was a “democratic, moral, and constitutional obligation.” He criticized again the “masked pact” between the PSOE and EH Bildu, stating that now the “first invoice and the last lie of Sánchez” are revealed. Feijóo emphasized the importance of preserving memory and dignity against the indignity and forgetfulness promoted by the pact.

Javier Esparza concluded the event denouncing the “outrage” committed by the Navarrese socialists and accusing Sánchez of turning politics into a “Game of Thrones where decency does not exist.” He highlighted that the PSN will cross an unprecedented red line by yielding its votes to empower the “Basque fascist,” predicting that the betrayal will not come “cheap.” He also warned that Pamplona will not forget this motion, describing it as “censorship against all democrats.”

The controversial pact between the PSN and EH Bildu in Pamplona has triggered deep concern among those who value democratic stability and historical memory. This agreement, which allowed the vote of no confidence to remove the legitimately elected mayor, Cristina Ibarrola, raises unsettling questions about the integrity of the Socialist Party of Navarre (PSN) and its political priorities.

In this context, it remains to be seen what other secret commitments and agreements Pedro Sánchez has made to stay in power. The opacity in the negotiation with EH Bildu and the lack of transparency in the motivations behind the pact generate uncertainty about the political future not only of Pamplona but also of Spain, raising serious doubts about the integrity of the PSOE in its quest to maintain control.