The dispute over the new sexual criminal law has finally driven a wedge between the parties of the left-wing governing coalition in Spain. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party (PSOE) will introduce the new reform of the controversial "Only yes means yes" law that came into force only five months ago without the support of junior partner Unidas Podemos (UP).
The conservative and right-wing populist opposition will support the PSOE in the vote in Madrid's lower house on Tuesday to start the reform process, media citing the government reported over the weekend.
The new law has had both unexpected and undesirable effects, including the early release of sex offenders. "The problem is so serious that any of the 350 votes is welcome," said the chair of the House of Commons Equality Committee, PSOE politician and former Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo in an interview with state television broadcaster RTVE.
Unidas Podemos fears that sex criminal law will be watered down
The UP meanwhile fears that the PSOE might give in to the demands of the conservative opposition and accept a return to the old way of life during the forthcoming debates on the new reform of the law: "We don't want a return to a patriarchal system in which you when victims were asked if their legs were properly closed," said UP's Equality Minister Irene Montero, for example.
Montero is considered the "mother" of the new set of rules - which not only provided for higher maximum penalties, but also lower minimum penalties in some cases. As a result, judges have since reduced the sentences of more than 700 inmates. More than 70 sex criminals were released earlier than expected - including a 39-year-old man in Lleida, Catalonia, who raped 17 women and whose sentence was reduced from 15 to 9 years.
"The law has had some undesirable effects in its application. Undesirable effects is an understatement," Sanchez said. Various PSOE politicians, meanwhile, have dismissed UP's fears and asserted that the principle of the consent of all parties involved in sexual acts would not be deviated from.
Among other things, the new law criminalized "intimidating" compliments and the distribution of sex videos. With this initiative, the government responded to several cases of gang rape last year, in which the perpetrators got off with relatively light sentences. Montero had said that the "rape culture" would be put to an end.