On the Day of Castilla-La Mancha that is celebrated today, its president, the socialist Emiliano García-Page, takes a tour, most of him dissenting, of the situation of national politics that characterizes the current Government of Spain that he presides his leader in the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez.
—While messages from some communities delve into the crisis of the territorial unity of Spain, what is your message on the Day of Castilla-La Mancha that is celebrated today?
—Two basics. One, that the Government and in general this society defends itself, but not from Spain, but from those who want very little or nothing from Spain. We are an autonomous community that is an example of what the constituent intended, which is to bring services and democracy closer to the citizenry without harming the unity of the country.
—The surveys point to a fall of the PSOE at the national level. Do you think that this can influence communities like yours, with an absolute majority?
—This is a region in which no high-ranking Administration official, in 40 years, has had a court case for corruption issues. That alone shows what this land is like. But the reality is that everything influences. You have to wait and a year goes a long way. Things in Madrid can get better or worse, and in the latter case they would get much worse for the Government's interests.
—Would you have reached agreements with the independence forces, as the central government has done?
—Everyone in Spain can feel more or less fond of the concept of a country and may have pro-independence intentions. But to negotiate with someone with whom you fundamentally disagree, above all you have to be clear about what you are not willing to do. There is a huge difference between reaching certain consensuses and marrying them. Spain needs a law, committed by the PSOE and the PP, that makes it very clear what the attack on the Constitution means.
—You who had experience in your Government with Podemos, what balance do you make of the Sánchez Executive with them?
—The national experience in this aspect is more acute than in Castilla-La Mancha. My goal was to evict them from the Government and, if I could, from Parliament. I think that the PSOE is facing the problems of Spain -it may or may not be right- and those of Podemos are simply doing their own thing. And this is seen every day. As long as they do not go less, what they would like is for the PSOE to go wrong. Podemos is a Trojan horse within the Government.
—The disagreements between Yolanda Díaz and the leadership of Podemos are no secret. Would it be nonsense to speculate on a future in the PSOE for the vice president?
—I like him very much, and I think that Spaniards in general, whether they share his ideas or not, think he has a very compatible disposition. She belongs to the area of the United Left and, however, empathizes with large majorities. Yolanda Díaz does not point to the degree of sectarianism that other components of Podemos exude. I think that at a certain moment she would fit into the PSOE, something that would be impossible with many others from Podemos.
—Some talk about Sánchez's party on the one hand, and others about the PSOE. Do you see that difference?
—It is the strategy that the PP has. The reality is that the PSOE is the oldest party in Spain, the only one that has not been refounded and that has reached the category of state property. There are many people who will not vote for him in life, but understand that he has to be. To a large extent it also happens to the PP. But of course, people distinguish more and more the captain of the ship than the ship, and it happens in national, regional and municipal elections.
—Do you think that citizens understand that the Government, as Sánchez said in his appearance in Congress, knows absolutely nothing about the operational decisions of the CNI?
—I don't know the inner workings of the CNI. But what I do know is that the CNI does not allow itself to be given slogans by anyone. Of other state agencies, I would not say the same.
—Feijóo, with whom you have a good relationship, has said that it would be good if you had more influence on the PSOE because it would be good for Spain and it would foster PP-PSOE agreements. Do you think it's possible?
—We agree that everything that can be settled by agreement is better than by conflict. We have known each other for years and, although we have a differentiated ideological field, that does not lead us to be enemies. In Spain there are too many politicians who play at being one, when really what the rules of democracy allow you to do is be an adversary, which is very different. I think that Feijóo has an idea of the country, also coming from a region with a very marked identity such as Galicia, more inclusive than other PP leaders and that the agreement allows us.
-You have proposed creating a work team between the PP and the PSOE to reach agreements...
—Throughout democracy there have been many consensuses, of all kinds. What cannot be is a short circuit between the Government and the opposition. There must always be an open conduit when the ultimate goal is to improve conditions in Spain and, above all, defend its unity.
—How have you experienced the controversy over the visit of the King Emeritus and the possible deterioration of the image of the Monarchy?
—Every head of something, of the State, of a government, must go through certain challenges. The two of King Juan Carlos were piloting the Transition and defending Spain from the coup of 23-F. Both, in political terms, are above any wrongdoing or bad deed. And King Felipe has already had two important challenges: one the attempted secession of Catalonia, in which he was in his place, and a succession as difficult as that of his father. I think that King Juan Carlos, who was a great king, today, by contrast, is also making King Felipe VI very great.