PP enrages Mortgage Platform after ditching measures from legislation

Ruling party uses majority to pass draft legislation lacking suggestions from popular proposal

Protestors at a demonstration in Madrid called by the Mortgage Victims Platform on Thursday.
Protestors at a demonstration in Madrid called by the Mortgage Victims Platform on Thursday. Juan Carlos Hidalgo (EFE)

The Popular Party on Thursday used its majority to approve a draft Mortgage Law despite fierce opposition from other parliamentary groups and the Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH), which conducted the passage of the popular proposal to Congress in the first place.

Evictions have caused a situation of social emergency in Spain as mortgage holders struggle to meet monthly payments in a climate of rampant unemployment and recession. The College of Property Registrars reported a total of 30,000 evictions nationwide in 2012 — equivalent to one every 20 minutes. Five people facing eviction have committed suicide.

The PAH text, for which it collected the 1.5 million signatures necessary to have a Popular Legislative Initiative debated in Congress, demanded an immediate moratorium on evictions, the introduction of dation in payment, by which homeowners can wipe out their debts by handing the keys over to the bank, and social, low-rent housing for those who have lost their homes. However, the PP made so many changes to the draft that the Socialists, the Catalan nationalist coalition CiU, the Basque Nationalist Party, the Plural Left bloc and the mixed group of minority parties refused to back the proposal.

The vote was carried in the Economic Commission, which has the power of approval without the necessity of a congressional vote, by 23 PP votes to 21 against. “Society will not forgive [the opposition] for failing to support an initiative of great social relevance,” said PP deputy for Murcia, Teodoro García Egea.

The PAH is so incensed by the tearing up of the original text that it has sought to retract its proposal, but parliamentary sources said that legally it is now impossible to stop its passage.

“We demand that they return our initiative to us; they can approve what they feel they need to approve, but not in our name,” said PAH spokeswoman Ada Colau. “It goes against the spirit of the ILP and all of its points. The government has used its absolute majority to approve a proposal that has nothing to do with the legislative initiative [...].”

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