Spanish ministers in spat over tie

4th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

The tourism and commerce minister came under the heat for not wearing a tie during a congress session.

4 July 2008

MADRID - Summertime in Spain usually means the same thing in offices the length and breadth of the country: arguments over the temperature of the air conditioning. But this year the usual row has broken out in the unlikeliest of places: the national Congress.

The spat began Wednesday when Congress President José Bono sent a tie over to Industry, Tourism and Commerce Minister Miguel Sebastián after he noticed he wasn't wearing one during a session.

But the minister's reasoning for failing to comply with the usual dress code in the chamber was that, in order to save energy, his ministry had set the air conditioning system at 24ºC, and allowed its male employees to remove their ties.

Official act

However, the relaxation of the rules does not apply to official acts. "And if this isn't an official act," Bono reportedly said on Wednesday of the congressional session, "then what is?"

In response, Sebastián, who, like Bono is of the Socialist party, responded by sending the chamber's president a thermometer, saying he would wait until he raised the temperature in Congress to 24ºC. "Perhaps then," Sebastián said, "he'll take off his tie too."

[El Pais / S. Hunter / Expatica]

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