Statement by the President of the Government of Spain at the ceremony to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution

2023.12.6

Lower House of Parliament, Madrid

SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE GOBERNMENT OF SPAIN, PEDRO SÁNCHEZ

Good morning. How are you? I am going to make a brief statement, and then we will have the opportunity to discuss other issues that will be of interest to you, behind the scenes in the corridors.

I wanted to say four things very briefly. The first is to congratulate ourselves, because this year is the 45th anniversary of the Constitution, and I believe that these are the best 45 years in the history of our country, of Spain.

Second, to recall something very obvious, but which has been called into question in recent months in the political debate. The Spanish Constitution does not belong to any political party. That is the greatness of the Spanish Constitution, in which we all fit, and which belongs to everyone, regardless of the ideology of each of our fellow citizens.

And third, always remember the obvious. Our Constitution is not only a legal framework, it is the foundational framework for democratic coexistence in our country. And the Constitution places equality as one of the central axes of the obligation of public institutions to guarantee real and effective equality. Real and effective equality between all citizens, whatever their social status, to ensure prosperity; real and effective equality between men and women, and irrespective of sexual orientation, beliefs or skin colour.

Therefore, I believe it is very important to convey to the citizens that what we in the Government are going to do in this legislature over the next four years is what we have been doing for the last five years, and that is to build equality. And equality is built by raising the minimum wage, rebuilding the Toledo Pact, and revaluing pensions in line with the CPI. This builds equality, reinforcing the welfare state that was diminished and weakened during the financial crisis and by the neoliberal response. Equality is built by approving new rights and freedoms, as we did for example yesterday in the Council of Ministers, with this parity law to guarantee an equal distribution, parity, between 50% of the population and the other 50%, between men and women.

And in this context, I would like to raise the alarm about an equality that is breaking down in our country and that has to do with structural violence, which is male violence. I believe it is the responsibility of all public institutions, not only to provide economic resources, but also all the capacities of the public administrations to extract, extirpate and eradicate structural violence such as gender violence, because it is simply unbearable to know that the lives of women in our country, just because they are women, are at risk. More than 50 women have been murdered by their partners or ex-partners, and that is an absolutely unbearable fact. Therefore, on the day when we are celebrating the anniversary of our Constitution, I believe that today more than ever we must reaffirm the commitment of all public administrations to eradicate the structural violence of male violence.

Last, I would like to reflect on whether or not the Spanish Constitution is being complied with. Because regarding those who preach constitutionalism and beat their breasts about how constitutionalist they are to the detriment of others, I believe that what we must always remember is that the best way to defend our Constitution is to comply with it every day, every day of the year, and moreover, with each and every one of its articles.

I say this because I believe, already at the beginning of this legislature, and we will have time to debate this, that the excuses are over, that it is time to fulfil our commitment to the Constitution with deeds. We must therefore move from proclamation to action, and put an end to excuses and comply with a mandate of the Constitution, which is the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary, which is, by the way, what the European Commission itself has told us in a crystal clear way this very week; the need, the obligation to unblock the government of the judges- in office for 1,800 days with their mandate expired- in other words, for the five years that I have been President of the Government of Spain.

That is why I believe it is very important to tell the main opposition party, which is blocking, and thereby failing to comply with the constitutional mandate, to adopt the Spanish proverb that says that devotion comes before obligation. And if you want to show devotion to the Constitution, what you must do is fulfil your obligation, and your obligation is to renew the General Council of the Judiciary, to have a General Council of the Judiciary that is fully legitimised by the General Courts, and also to comply with our Constitution. That is why, in the end, it is duty before devotion. And what I urge the Popular Party to do is to fulfil its constitutional mandate to renew the General Council of the Judiciary during this legislature.

I extend my hand to the leader of the opposition, to the main opposition party, because I believe that if we do so, if we carry out this renewal, if we comply with the constitutional mandate, we will be making state policy, we will be making high politics and, above all, we will be serving our citizens, who are ultimately the main people affected by this weakening and deterioration in the quality of an essential service that our democracy must provide, the service of justice.

So happy Constitution Day, happy 45th anniversary, and later on we will have the opportunity to talk more, in more detail about some issues that, I am sure, will be of interest to you. That's all and thank you very much.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Original speech in Spanish

Non official translation