According to Popular Party (PP) leader Pablo Casado, Spain's prime minister Pedro Sánchez represents a "public danger" to his country. Ciudadanos' Albert Rivera is in agreement, saying this week that it has become a "national emergency" that Sánchez be removed from office. Ahead of what is going to be a general election of incredibly fine margins on April 28th, such hyperbole is to be expected. But Casado's and Rivera's rhetoric paints a misleading picture of a prime minister who has achieved a lot during during his stint in the top job.
On the day that the UK's second attempt to leave the EU was supposed to succeed, it's apt to remember that Sánchez's government has worked hard to secure the rights of Britons in Spain and Spaniards in Britain after Brexit. Sánchez passed a royal decree early in March that enshrined in law his plans to preserve British expatriates' access to healthcare and voting rights in the case of a no-deal departure from the EU. Amid all the hysteria, Spain thus emerges as the most progressive country in Europe when it comes to preparing for a worst case scenario - namely, one in which the UK divorces Brussels without any kind of plan in place (although the latest extension granted by the EU, to October 31st, is designed to ensure that that doesn't happen).
When it comes to economics, the minority status of Sánchez's administration has proved a real barrier to progress (the PSOE holds just 84 seats in the 350-seat congress). The government's inability to pass its proposed 2019 budget was, after all, the failure that triggered the upcoming election. Despite that, the Socialist leader managed to increase Spain's minimum wage by a substantial 22% as of January this year, from €736 to €900 - a raise that will make an enormous difference to many Spanish households.
The same could be said of a decree for which Sánchez secured the approval of a parliamentary panel two weeks ago, and which aims to protect tenants from mercurial and profit-hungry landlords. Such legislation goes a long way towards showing that, when the Socialist leader says that his priority is the lot of average Spaniards, it's not just political posturing (or not entirely, anyway).
What Casado and Rivera really have in mind when they brand Sánchez "Public Enemy Number 1", though, is Catalonia. Both the PP and Ciudadanos leaders are ramping up their criticism of his attempt to start a dialogue with the region's separatists, saying that it undermines Spanish unity; yet they seem to forget - or choose to ignore - that the PSOE leader is as fundamentally opposed to Catalan secession as they are. Far from being a "public danger" to his country, then, Sánchez will prove a hard act to follow if someone new moves into Moncloa after April 28th.