Social collectives, institutions and international voices are aligned in favor of the debate and enactment of PAH’s Housing Law. Only the Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos would support a government veto against this law proposal.
Last January 10th, families organized within the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH by its Spanish acronym) registered PAH’s Housing Law in the Spanish Congress. Should it be passed, this law proposal would end evictions and energy poverty, as well as regulate rental contracts. This proposal is the result of three years of collective work, where affected families from 240 platforms throughout Spain agreed on the draft for a legal text. During the following year the initial text was negotiated with all Spanish MP’s, with the intention to generate a consensus proposal to kickstart a democratic debate among all forces of Congress.
The measures resulting from this process were: dation in payment, regulation of rental prices, a moratorium of evictions, an increase of public housing stock and guaranteed access to electricity, water and heating. All common sense measures which are a reality in the rest of the European Union. However, during this process we found out that the PP-led government has the capacity to veto law proposals affecting the national budget for the current tax year. Faced with this, we included a clause so that any measure needing public expenses would not be enforced until the next national budget were approved.
Nevertheless, we were aware that PP had cheated in the past. They had registered unjustified vetoes that were then endorsed by Ciudadanos in the Table of Congress. Given this fact, we began to knock on every door to explain the need for this law and the main obstacle it was facing. The veto, though a direct attack on democratic life, was also a mechanism unknown to most people. Everywhere we went we found overwhelming support. Those in favor described the possibility of the veto as an antidemocratic atrocity and our law as an example to be applauded. As of today we have the support of:
– Hundreds of social collectives, grassroot unions, neighbourhood associations and social movements which have taken part in demonstrations organized in Spain’s provincial capitals. The last one took place in Madrid on March 3rd, where families coming from all over Spain came to the country’s capital city to demand the debate and enactment of PAH’s Housing Law.
– Social movements from London, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Bucharest, Milan, Cyprus, Sarajevo and Lisbon have staged protest actions in front of Spanish embassies demanding that the government accepts PAH’s Housing Law for consideration. These demonstrations have been coordinated by the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City, the Marea Granate (a collective of Spanish migrants abroad) and the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation.
– With the slogan #EstaEsMiLey (#ThisIsMyLaw) we have received up to 40 supporting videos from journalists, musicians, artists, television presenters, actors and actresses and citizens’ collectives. Some examples would be Jordi Évole, Rozalen, Àngel Llàcer, Oxfam and the Kellys from Barcelona.
– Over a hundred City Halls have signed motions supporting the legislation of our suggested measures.
– Political parties of up to 14 Autonomic Parliaments (out of a total of 17) have signed documents of public support asking for this law to be accepted for consideration in Parliament. The Autonomic Parliament of Navarra even made a public statement of institutional support.
– In the Spanish Congress we have received support from the following political parties: Podemos, ERC (Catalan Republican Left), Compromís and EH Bildu. And even though they did not take part in the law’s registration process, both PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and PDeCat (Catalan Democratic Party) have publicly supported the processing of our law.
– Recently, in the European Parliament, we received signatures of support from two Eurogroups in full: GUE/NGL (Gauche Unitaire Européenne / Nordic Green Left) and the EFA (European Free Alliance), who altogether represent 55 political parties from different European Union countries.
– We have even garnered support repeatedly from the United Nations. As of today, the UN has ruled twice that in Spain human rights are violated when evictions without a housing alternative are carried out. UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Leilani Farha, authored an article stating that the solution to these issues was PAH’s Housing Law. She went as far as describing PAH’s Housing Law as an example to inspire the world.
As if that were not enough, we would like to repeat that PAH’s Housing Law incorporates the demands of a Popular Legislative Initiative that we registered in 2013 in the Spanish Congress and which received 90% of public support from Spanish society. Spanish civil society stands behind PAH’s Housing Law. Social organizations stand behind PAH’s Housing Law. And institutions on all levels demand that this law be debated and enacted. Even voices from the international community have described PAH’s Housing Law as a world referent. In 40 years of democracy it is a historical precedent that a law proposal receives such massive and widespread support.
The only ones in favor of a government veto which would prevent this law being debated would be the Popular Party and Ciudadanos. The parties led by Mariano Rajoy and Albert Rivera. Faced with this situation, our message is clear: allow democracy to work. Allow a law written by and for the citizens to be debated.
Tomorrow, Friday the 16th of March, will be the last day when the government can register a veto, which would be unjustified. The government has the chance to position itself alongside all the voices that defend PAH’s Housing Law. And should they miss out on this opportunity, Ciudadanos can still reconsider their stance and join that overwhelming majority defending families’ rights. It is simply a question of political will. ¡Sí se puede! We can do it!
#ApoyosPAH / PAHsSupport