Prostitution returns to the scene to shake the coexistence between the PSOE and United We Can after the deep wounds it left between the two partners of the Government. And it is that the bitter way in which this issue was settled in the ‘law of only yes is yes’, with the purples allying with the majority of partners to twist the arm of the socialists and force them to renounce one of their issues flag, led the two parties to a climate of tension and confrontation that took shape, the next day, in order from the PSOE: the presentation of a bill to prohibit prostitution with a reform of the Penal Code and the explicit challenge to United We Can to portray ourselves with a position.
This initiative arrives this Tuesday for the first time in Congress to be debated. The deputies must decide if the abolitionist proposal passes the court and becomes part of the legislative work of the Equality Commission. Or if, on the contrary, it has to be rejected and die.
Everything indicates that the socialist law will get more than enough votes to be processed thanks to the PP. Well, as a result of the debate about prostitution, a certain consensus has been generated in certain approaches that propitiate that for now the popular ones are inclined to vote in favor. And it is that the defeat of the PSOE in the ‘law of only yes is yes’ was so hard because, in the words of Adriana Lastra, United We Can and its partners subjected them to “blackmail” and threatened to overturn the entire law if they did not withdraw an “abolitionist” amendment that encouraged criminal prosecution of the owners of the premises and the floors where prostitution is practiced. The PSOE had to withdraw it in extremis due to this strong pressure, but the most painful thing for the socialist feminists is that they knew that they had the votes of the PP and, therefore, they had a majority to have carried it forward.
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That harmony between PSOE-PP is what now opens the way to the abolitionist law. Popular parliamentary sources explain that the “base” of the socialist law is that controversial amendment that was almost approved, so they emphasize that “in the core” they continue to “agree”.
Only popular votes would be enough for the initiative to pass the first exam. However, the focus is on United We Can. Officially it has not announced a position, but the internal reading is not to torpedo the proposal at a point where it does not commit anything and would only deepen the gap with the PSOE feminists. In addition, it is with the socialists that they still have to carry out initiatives as committed as the ‘trans law’, on which the PSOE is receiving very strong pressure from feminists around them who reject it.
Sources from the Ministry of Equality point out that “the important thing” is that “the debate that the groups have been working on for months be continued” and that the PSOE proposal “adds to the abolitionist path undertaken by the Government.” In addition, Minister Irene Montero has been making positive statements in this regard and is trying to reduce the tension with a conciliatory tone.
This outstretched hand to vote in favor this week does not mean an agreement on the substance -because the differences on the content of the law are considered right now-, but it only has to be seen as a predisposition on the part of United We Can to accept that the debate can take place within the Equality Commission of Congress.
From then on, from the Ministry of Irene Montero, what is done is to pressure the PSOE to be more flexible and to abandon a position of maximums that only leads to a new schism. Not only with United, We Can, but also with its main parliamentary allies, ERC and EH Bildu, two parties that have a regulation position. The same thing happens with the commons of Ada Colau, who declare themselves against prohibitionism.
“We hope that now [the PSOE] will open up to debate to achieve a consensus on the breadth of the State Pact against gender-based violence in terms of fighting the pimp industry,” sources from the Ministry explain, in that call to make positions more flexible.
In this sense, they regret that the PSOE “did not want to budge” from its position during the negotiation of the ‘law of only yes is yes’, despite the fact that there were “20 different proposals” for the drafting of the controversial amendment presented by the socialists on the so-called locative third party (the persecution of renting premises or flats to prostitutes) in contrast, these same sources highlight, to the investiture groups that “we’re willing to move from their position to find a consensus.”
The PSOE does not seem willing to loosen its “abolitionist” claims, also shielded in its 40th Federal Congress. Adriana Lastra has already stressed that this is her roadmap and urged the others, but especially United We Can, to “decide” what her position is “if she has one.”
The socialist spokesperson for Equality in Congress, Laura Berja, also expressed it emphatically, when the ‘law of only yes is yes’. Prostitution, she warned, is that “for payment” women are “raped”; “What you buy is submission.” “What do you feel when you see brothels? Do you think there is some freedom in there? All I see are women’s concentration camps,” she said. Words, by the way, that were applauded by the PP.