The spokesman for the Junta de Castilla y León, Carlos Fernández Carriedo, has apologized this Thursday to anyone who “may have felt offended or annoyed” at the response of the Vice President of the Executive, Juan García-Gallardo (Vox), to a prosecutor of the PSOE, who has a disability, and to whom he said he would respond “as if he were a person like all the others.”
And he has stressed, at a press conference after the Governing Council, that the Board will continue to work with people and groups that work with people with disabilities, although he has observed, given García-Gallardo’s statements, that the stability of the Government is not at risk.
“I am not going to treat her lack of respect with any condescension and I am going to respond as if she were a person like all the others,” Gallardo said on Tuesday in the plenary session of the Cortes de Castilla y León in response to a question from the socialist attorney Noelia Frutos, who uses a wheelchair due to her physical disability. This comment unleashed a barrage of criticism from associations and parties.
The socialist representative had asked him “how do you think women with disabilities should be treated” after Gallardo said a few weeks ago that women do not need to be treated “as disabled” by applying quotas in the workplace.
The PSOE attorney herself demanded a disavowal by the president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (PP) of his vice president for his words in plenary, after experiencing a situation that he has branded as “brutal and very unpleasant”.
The answer that Gallardo gave him in plenary has provoked a barrage of criticism among associations and most political parties, although Gallardo himself has denied that there is discomfort with the president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (PP), and has blamed the PSOE for creating a “preconceived controversy” to generate “a circus” that has been proposed not to repeat.
Mañueco has limited himself to saying when asked if he supports the vice president’s latest statements on abortion, women and disability, that he supports “the Government of Castilla y León.”
The president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has gone a step further by describing Gallardo’s statements as “very surprising”, while the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, has asked for respect and tolerance on both sides of the political spectrum.
The criticism has been very forceful by the Government: the Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, has described Gallardo as “indecent, unpresentable and heartless” and the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, has blamed the PP for including him in the Executive of Castile and León. “This is what has to put the extreme right and extremists in governments, which embarrasses us all,” Bolaños stressed.
The spokesman for Citizens in Congress, Edmundo Bal, very explicit, has said that Gallardo’s statements “disgust” him and are “disgusting.” Along the same lines, the ERC spokesman in Congress, Gabriel Rufián, has described them as “shameful” and “savage” and has lamented that Vox wins “votes and elections” with this type of speech.
Equally critical has been the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón, who considers Gallardo’s statements “disgusting”, although he believes that “the real culprits” are the PP and Vox.
And beyond politics, third sector entities that work with people with disabilities such as CERMI, ASPAYM or CONCEMFE have also criticized Gallardo’s words and have asked him to rectify “his approach of contempt”.
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