What is an Estado de Alarma?

When asked whether the Junta would request an Estado de Alarma for Andalucía, the Vice-PM Marín said that they wouldn't, but for specific powers they would.

SPN Estado de AlarmaThis is where what an Estado de Alarma implies, should be explained. What this legal instrument does is allows a government to suspend or amend Constitutional Rights for a provisional period during a time of crisis, such as this one.

It is not a blanket of restrictions that can be applied but rather merely the legal authority to impose a choice of actions if and where needed.

It’s important to understand this to be able to see the political manoeuvring going on between the opposition parties running the Junta and the Central Government.

The Vice PM for the Junta said that he didn’t want an Estado de Alarma for Andalucía as if it were the full package of restrictions in place up to now, which it is not. He knows this but it is not politically convenient – the Central Government must be seen to be incompetent and unreasonable, and above all, unpopular decisions to impose restrictions must be seen to come from elsewhere rather than from the Junta.

If the Junta went to the Central Government and said, “activate an Estado de Alarma limited to Andalucía, it will allow us to make specific restrictions if necessary,” the Central Government would grant it, which would have to be endorsed in the national parliament with votes in favour  from the Junta’s own party, the PP.

The result would be what the Junta wants: the capacity to impose a curfew and limit mobility, for example, without having to submit it before the judiciary, which could have an uncertain outcome. Yet if the Junta requests an E.de.A. then it is the Junta who will get the flak if any restrictions become unpopular – up until now the Junta could say that they are only reluctantly complying with the dictates of an insensitive Central Government.

Hence, the Vice-PM says that they don’t want a tailor-made Estado de Alarma for Andalucía; just the legal capacity to resort to applying restrictions if necessary (which is precisely what the E.de.A would give them, anyway).

So, to be clear, just because you have an Estado de Alarma in effect, it does not mean that automatically you have to impose a litany of restrictions; it merely gives you the power to impose restrictions at any given time whilst it is in effect.

(News/Editorial: Andalucia)

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