ACTING defence minister Pedro Morenés was called into Parliament this week to explain about the NATO summit he went to last month concerning the Spanish fleet in the Indian Ocean – but pointedly did not turn up and gave no explanation.
He said an acting government is 'not subject to Parliamentary control', meaning he was not under any obligation to explain his work or attend when asked.
This has infuriated Parliament, now led by the PSOE, or socialist MP Patxi López even though the acting government and holder of the most seats is the right-wing PP.
López considers it to be an 'act of pointless rebellion' which was just to 'prove a point', although he is not sure what that point is.
Other parties said Morenés' no-show was a 'fraud', and 'democratic anomaly', and that it 'lacked all logic and common sense'.
“The caretaking government is stopping the legislature from doing its job by ignoring requests to speak in Parliament on the grounds it is not legally obliged to do so,” complains the Parliamentary committee.
But the PP responds: “Never before in the Constitutional history of Spain has a government MP been expected to answer questions in Parliament before a national president has been elected.”
This is largely because Spain has never gone more than a couple of weeks between general elections and a president being sworn in – now, however, the country is in the unprecedented situation of having no government three months after the country went to the polls, and may even have to call a second election in another three months if none of the parties can agree on future policies.
And this is the first time a government member has deliberately ignored a request to appear in Parliament and discuss the work he had done to date.
The socialists, in charge of Parliament, have filed a case with the Constitutional Court, the highest in the land.
Above the Supreme Court and the last point of appeal for any legal case in Spain, the Constitutional Court deals with possible breaches of the country's Magna Carta and interprets how this would apply to the situation in question.
But verdicts can take months to come through, meaning Spain may well have gone to the polls a second time before one is issued and other MPs may decide to defy Parliament in the meantime.