The Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939) came about as a democratic regime that recognised the need for the remuneration of the deputies. This principle honoured the will to guarantee the political rights of all citizens and to avoid the monopolisation of parliamentary representation by large fortunes. However, the Republic was also ... (Show more)
The Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939) came about as a democratic regime that recognised the need for the remuneration of the deputies. This principle honoured the will to guarantee the political rights of all citizens and to avoid the monopolisation of parliamentary representation by large fortunes. However, the Republic was also conceived as a moralising project of Spanish politics after the monarchy of Alfonso XIII, branded as corrupt, fraudulent, and oligarchic. Thus, the parliamentary remuneration process was punctuated by debates and controversies over the abuse in the reception of per diem and the accumulation of public offices through influence peddling, the latter also known as “pluggism” (enchufismo). To put an end to these practices, which were denounced as the immoral prelude to widespread corruption and as contrary to the principles of honesty and austerity, the governments of the first republican biennium (made up of leftist and centre-leftist republicans and socialists) prepared a Law of Incompatibilities that was approved in 1933 and remained in force until the outbreak of Spanish Civil War.
Taking all this into account, the aims of this paper are diverse. Firstly, the genesis of the debate on the parliamentary remuneration and the incompatibility of public offices will be inquired to understand the precedents of the republican debate. This will be complemented with a tracing of the genesis, evolution, and changes of the political concept “plug” (enchufe) and its derivatives, voices that even to this day are part of the Spanish political culture to refer to the achievement of public offices through favouritism.
Secondly, through newspapers sources, but also political literature and cartoons, the paper will go into how parliamentary remuneration and accumulation of public offices became scandalous between 1931 and 1933. The consideration of this issue by different political cultures will allow us to observe how the denunciation of immorally perceived money and public offices became a demand for virtue and a new political morality by exalted republicans. But it also became a “throwing weapon” used by antirepublican and antiparliamentary forces, both from far-right and far-left, to try to undermine the legitimacy of the republican regime and its government. In this sense, the case of Manuel Cordero Pérez, a socialist politician nicknamed “the great pluggist”, will be paradigmatic to study the discourses on public morality of the different Spanish political cultures.
Lastly, the paper will focus on the parliamentary debate on remuneration of the deputies and incompatibilities that took place in the Republican Courts to observe the institutional response to the scandalous situation. The analysis of the consequent rules and laws, mainly the Law of Incompatibilities and the minutes of the Parliamentary Commission on Incompatibilities, will serve this purpose too.
In conclusion, through political history and cultural history, with a small foray into the history of concepts, this paper aims to weigh the role of the denunciations against corruption and the demands for vigilance towards the professional politicians as tools of politicisation and promoters of political (mis)trust in modern Spain. (Show less)