Spanish government partners at odds in congress on amending consent law
Socialists and Unidas Podemos unable to find consensus on how to avoid offenders having lower sentences
The modification to the only-yes-means-yes law passed the first vote in Congress on Tuesday evening.
Yet, the proposal, put forward by the Socialists, was not backed by its usual left-wing allies, including junior coalition partner in government Unidas Podemos, but by the conservative People's Party, and unionist Ciudadanos, as well as center-right PDeCAT from Catalonia, and EAJ-PNV from the Basque Country.
The law, which found consensus between both cabinet coalition members, was just approved last August and came into force in September. It stated that consent has to be explicit before sexual relationships, and otherwise the acts will be considered sexual assault, and subsequently, a crime – yet, it had an undesired effect: it provided a loophole for hundreds of offenders across Spain, who managed to have their sentences lowered.
The proposed amendment to the law will continue its path in congress - the Socialists and Unidas Podemos can still find common ground and have a joint position ahead of the final approval.
Yet, on Tuesday, the divide between the two allies was obvious.
"There is no possible feminism if you reach deals with those who took the abortion law to the Constitutional Court, and with the far right, which deny gender-based violence, revoke trans laws and believe that LGBT people are a Netflix trend," said Unidas Podemos MP Lucía Muñoz.
"The lawmakers' will was never for offenders to get lower sentences, but just putting an end to sexist violence and protect victims," said Socialist Andrea Fernández.
While the senior government partner voted Yes,its junior ally- sided against, together with pro-independence left-wing ERC, EH Bildu and CUP.
Pro-independence Junts, together with left-wing Más País and far-right Vox abstained.