The vice president who disagreed with Rodríguez Zapatero

They say that as important as knowing how to arrive is knowing how to leave.

The vice president who disagreed with Rodríguez Zapatero

They say that as important as knowing how to arrive is knowing how to leave. Pedro Solbes acknowledged that not knowing how to leave was “his biggest mistake of his.” The former Minister of the Economy under Felipe González, praised by Aznar’s Popular Party for his financial orthodoxy, returned to office with the arrival of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to power in 2004.

“The differences with Zapatero were palpable from the outset,” the economist would admit in his memoirs. Although they did not surface, publicly, during the days of wine and roses of the first legislature.

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It was in the Commission that investigated the economic crisis of 2008 when Solbes acknowledged that his warnings about the excesses of banks, especially savings banks, and the laxity of dealing with the real estate sector “were ignored,” he confirmed in parliament.

Differences and no talks that weren’t enough to make the economist jump ship when the storm hit. As soon as Rodríguez Zapatero opened his second legislature. It was hard to believe even then how a Minister of the Economy with the profile of Solbes and his experience could deny with such vehemence the economic and financial debacle that was already worsening and that the Zapatero government insisted on denying and in view of those famous “outbreaks green” that came to nothing.

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In the Commission on the economic crisis, Solbes openly admitted these “important” differences with President Zapatero. He assured that he had opposed measures such as “the reduction of 400 euros in personal income tax or the baby check”, which he described as a “campaign decision”. “We should have been more courageous in the governance of the savings banks, although I don’t know if it would have been possible given the political moment,” he acknowledged.

The truth is that, despite this a posteriori analysis, Solbes defended Zapatero’s positions until the last minute in which he remained his Minister of Economy. Sonada was the vehemence of him denying the crisis in the debate that he held on Antena 3 in February 2008 with Manuel Pizarro, former president of Endesa and at the time a star signing of Aznar’s Popular Party.

Faced with the accusations of “Spain is not doing well” and the warning by the former Endesa director of a “deep crisis”, Solbes did not hide his sarcastic laugh that all viewers could see while accusing Aznar’s star signing of being a demagogue and catastrophist.

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