The Congress begins in 2024 with works in the chamber for the installation of new touch screens that will replace the old monitors and keyboards that are in all the seats of the Session Hall, a project that will cost three million euros and that will force to hold plenary sessions in the Senate for the month of January.

On these new devices, your honorable Members will be able to see information about the votes that take place in the plenary sessions and they will also be used to connect to the Spanish translation of the plenary sessions and to follow them through subtitles.

The initial idea of ​​Congress was to carry out the renewal of the system last autumn when the Cortes was scheduled to be dissolved to hold general elections at the end of the year. However, President Pedro Sánchez’s decision to advance the legislative elections to July 23 put an end to that plan.

This change in the calendar has also forced the introduction of new features in the system that is going to be installed, since it has been decided to take advantage of it to facilitate access to the simultaneous translation into Spanish of the sessions.

The reform of the Regulation that gave free rein to the use of Catalan, Galician and Basque was approved in September and then, Congress invested 45,900 euros (VAT included) in the rental and maintenance until the end of this year of radio frequency antennas and packs .

As parliamentary sources have explained to Europa Press, with the new system these cases will no longer be necessary, since deputies will be able to connect to the simultaneous translation directly through the new devices that are going to be installed in the seats, where they will also be able to follow the subtitles in Spanish of the interventions made in other languages.

The forecast is that the work will continue throughout the month of January, which will force the Senate to hold the plenary sessions that are convened during the first month of 2024. At the end of December, the screens that They were placed under the Presidency of the socialist Manuel Marín, who headed the Chamber between 2004 and 2008.

Those electronic seats, in addition to screens, incorporated keyboards that were placed on removable trays and that will now also disappear. That system, by which deputies only had access to the Chamber’s intranet, became obsolete years ago and, in fact, was no longer operational.

In reality, it was given little use because it was also in that VII Legislature when it was decided to distribute laptops to the deputies, devices that were later replaced by the tablets that they still use.

The name of the occupant of each seat will continue to appear on the new touch screens and their owners will be able to see up close the electronic voting panel that they can also consult on the two giant screens on the sides of the Plenary Hall, but it will not be of any use to them. to browse the Internet.

What will continue to work the same as until now is the voting system, that is, the buttons next to the screens will not be touched so that the deputies can register their presence in the chamber and can choose between ‘yes’, ‘no’ or abstention. The button to activate the microphone will not be replaced either.

The installation of this conference system and the adaptation of the audiovisual systems necessary for its operation was awarded to the Basque SME Telesonic SA, which beat out three other companies.

The base tender budget without taxes amounted to 2.6 million euros and had an estimated value of 3.1 million. Finally, the contract, negotiated without publicity and due to the urgent procedure, was awarded for 3,020,426.2 euros (taxes included) to the company that, according to the documentation consulted by Europa Press, presented the best offer.

Telesonic SA is a company based in Lasarte (Guipúzcoa) that has already worked for other institutions such as the Basque, Navarrese and Aragonese parliaments, the General Boards of Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa or the Courts of Aragon, as well as for centers such as Kursaal de San Sebastian and the Euskalduna Palace in Bilbao or the National Archaeological Museum.