He didn’t go into politics and left number two the PSÖ. María Jesús Montero (Seville, 56 years old) worked as a doctor, was the head of a hospital – “You learn a lot there, you live with pain and joy” – then jumped into administration and became finance minister. Unfamiliar with party life, Pedro Sánchez has appointed her deputy general secretary to encourage an organization plagued by recent electoral setbacks.
Questions. When the President asked you to fill these new roles, what specific mission did he give you?
answer. When he told me, my immediate response was, “I’ll be where you tell me.” I’m totally disciplined for that. The President and I get along very well without having to explain every detail. And basically he’s asking me to give the PSOE an extra boost in an election year.
P. The polls are turning their backs on them. Is there a game already?
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R. I firmly believe that we will win the elections, the local elections, the regional elections and of course the general elections. It is true that we participate in polls that might have interesting readings because PP Presidents called elections when they thought they could do well to make it appear that they are on a winning wave. I believe that they have exhausted all this capacity with their regional elections and that the PSOE will now re-validate where it has already governed. What is perceived is that the space on the right is reorganized, but I don’t see that there is a carryover from the usual space on the left.
P. The PSOE has never had a female Secretary General. Don’t you want to be the first?
R Actually, I don’t even think about it.
P Aren’t you thinking about the future? Wouldn’t you like to have an electoral projection in Andalusia or even at national level?
R I never think about my future, which is probably why I’ve been in politics for so many years. I never worried about what would happen tomorrow. Simple, I’ve dedicated myself to helping what’s entrusted to me because I don’t design the work if it’s not within a team vision.
P. If it hasn’t even been a year since the last Congress, isn’t this change a sign that it’s not reaching the citizens?
R Organizations that are alive must constantly renew themselves. Politics is much more intense and faster than ever before. It is a long-distance and relay race in which some companions carry the baton until a certain moment and then pass it on to others. The pandemic was a collective trauma that defined our lives. And the virus passes and a war comes. Spanish society, the institutions themselves have suffered and we must be able to embrace this new mindset that is pervading society. We are a pluralistic party, like Spanish society, we don’t need to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes because we live it within our own ranks. We are trying to reconnect with citizens who have a certain distance from politics. The right is interested in political dissatisfaction because it is experienced more intensely in milieus that normally place greater trust in the PSOE. The PP makes noise to make people think politics is useless. And that’s what we have to fight, that noise that prevents transformative politics and makes people think that those of us who are in charge of public affairs are Martians.
P. As the right regroups, we see new problems on the left these days. In the PSOE and also in United We Can
R. I would say that the right lived its own life too…
P. But there are problems in the PSOE, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.
R. It is true that we are seeing it more and more dramatically on the left. But the PP has already seen two leadership changes since Pedro Sánchez arrived at La Moncloa. And besides, it hasn’t even been restructured yet. They are still the same as ever and their speech is a disregard for the interests of this country. They only deal with the 5% they represent versus the 95% that the PSOE represents.
QWill there be a coalition government until the end?
R That is undoubtedly the intention of the President. This government has provided stability to develop the whole transformation agenda and, very importantly, regained areas of participation that the PP eliminated, such as B. the social dialogue. If the PP does not vote in Congress for a measure like labor reform, backed by unions and business people, what are the real interests they represent? Because it seems that the PP does not even represent itself.
P Is there a discourse shift to the left?
R. I believe that the executive branch’s action has always been highly visible to left-wing voters, and I would say the vast majority of this country. We have always tried to develop an agenda that keeps the citizens, the vulnerable, but also the middle class in mind, which allows us to have a welfare state because it is the one that pays the most by paying their taxes. The PSOE has always occupied the centrality of this country, although centrality does not mean a political center.
P. Something will fail in government if its actions don’t get through to the citizen.
R. Within government, it is sometimes unnecessary to anchor the visibility of certain political formations in emphasizing differences. I said this clearly to the minority in my government and understood that it is logical that they need to capitalize on their policies. But it’s a mistake to emphasize what makes us different, because 99% of us develop an agenda that has no discussion for one or the other. We must act in concert with the groups that made the investiture possible. Unfortunately, we could never rely on the PP. If you see there’s something that can wear this government down, even if you can share it, vote against. In the midst of a pandemic, a war, a volcano… it seems we’ve had 10 terms in one, and I think the government’s service record is extraordinarily positive. And that goes for a political formation entering government for the first time.
P Do you feel more comfortable with Yolanda Díaz than with Iglesias?
R. I have a better relationship with her. We have practiced the complicity of women. We not only share a political project, but also hobbies, tastes, we like each other… That helps a lot and avoids seemingly very complicated situations.
P Are you wearing down the pacts with Bildu?
R We have to talk to everyone, arithmetic is stubborn.
P Not everyone is the same.
R It is not. I always speak to the PNV first and then to the ERC. At Bildu, we only talk about legal measures that allow us to move forward on social rights. We have never spoken to anyone about other items that may be in some parties’ portfolios. The independence of Catalonia, for example.
QHave you ever imagined that you would see an absolute majority of PP in Andalusia?
R Never, honestly, wasn’t included in my calculations…not now or a few years ago. The pity of these elections is that our electorate has not mobilized. For this reason, it is now a matter of instilling enthusiasm, hope and the ability to listen in order to better explain ourselves to our constituents. We are here for everyone to mobilize all those people who want Spain to move forward socially.
P And this risk of demobilization also exists throughout Spain.
R What I want to convey to citizens is that politics is more necessary than ever, that if it didn’t exist, it would have to be invented. And that all the voices that try to convey that it doesn’t matter who governs, that we don’t decide on the voters, but on interests that come from outside… It is precisely these voices that open the way for economic interests that are not based on the Governing side of the great social majority. . That is why the President spoke of the fact that there are interests that are not visible and are behind the dictates of the policies practiced by the PP.
P Did you expect the banks and energy companies to react to the special tax?
R It must be admitted that if you ask someone else to do better, you shouldn’t be expected to applaud them. But many business people privately tell you—although they dare not say it publicly, lest they be singled out—that it seems good to them to contribute more and help distribute wealth socially. And many of the small business owners, freelancers, freelancers, middle-class workers, those in need are happy that the tax burden is evened out again and some are contributing a small part of their profits.
P His partner insists on taxing higher incomes more heavily.
R I always remind you that this government has increased personal income tax by two points for income over 300,000 euros and for capital income over 200,000 euros. And it introduced the minimum payment of 15% of corporate income tax. From day one we have taken fiscal action in a smart and progressive way. And we have complied with the government agreement. We will continue to do so and I do not rule out that some additional measures will be taken in the coming months, if not immediately. What I have always said is that we have to accompany the situation of the country and the economy.
P Can the military budget be increased without touching other items?
R It will be consistent with an increase in social security contributions, which is in our government’s DNA. Security policy will play a major role in the future. And that has to do not only with armed conflicts, but also with the promotion of innovation and science. Resources can be used in military policy, which will later be of enormous use when transferring their innovations to the other areas of the economy.
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