Spanish Left Pays Price for Choosing Purists Over Pragmatists
Spain’s ruling People’s Party continues to fall in the polls. Its support is down from 33 percent in the last election to under 25 percent in most recent surveys. The reasons are corruption scandals and the ongoing Catalan independence crisis.
The liberal Citizens, who support — but are not a part of — Mariano Rajoy’s government, are up. Some polls even have them as the largest party of Spain. Their promise to clean up politics, and the hard line they have taken against the Catalan separatists, is resonating with center-right voters.
The left, El País points out, seems unable to exploit Rajoy’s unpopularity. Support for the mainstream Socialist Party is virtually unchanged at 20-22 percent. The far-left Podemos is down several points. Read more
Catalan Socialists Choose Opposition Over Deal with Separatists
Catalonia’s Socialists have taken themselves out of contention for the next coalition government by refusing deals with parties that, in the words of leader Miquel Iceta, have taken the region “to the brink of the abyss.”
Even if the European Democratic Party and the Republican Left, which jointly ruled Catalonia until the regional government was dissolved by Madrid, renounce secession, the Socialists would still not partner with them, Iceta said in a television interview.
Nor would he commit to a unionist pact with center-right parties, thus condemning the Socialists to four more years in opposition. Read more
Suspension of Catalan Home Rule Divides Spain’s Socialists
The Spanish Socialist Party’s support for the suspension of Catalan home rule has triggered defections from prominent party members in the region, including the mayors of Castellar del Vallès, Granollers and Terrassa as well as the party secretary in Manresa.
Àngel Ros, the mayor of Lleida, said that when he heard Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announce the abrogation of self-government on Saturday, “I thought of all it cost us to fight Francoism and gain freedom and democracy.” Read more
It was the result Spain’s Socialist bigwigs had feared: a resounding victory for Pedro Sánchez in their party’s primary on Sunday, beating Andalusia premier Susana Díaz and former Basque premier Patxi López to become leader for a second time.
Many had believed Sánchez was dead and buried last autumn, when his first spell as leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) ended in acrimony. His ouster had been triggered by two poor general election results, followed by a refusal to abstain in a parliamentary investiture vote in order to allow Mariano Rajoy to form a new conservative administration.
But this has been one of the unlikeliest political resurrections Spain has seen, made possible by an equally unlikely makeover on the part of Sánchez. Read more
Díaz Calls for Pragmatism in Spain’s Socialist Party Campaign
Susana Díaz, the president of Spain’s most populous region, has formally announced her candidacy for the leadership of the opposition Socialist Party, telling supporters in Madrid, “We will win and we will govern.”
Díaz represents the pragmatic wing of the party. She faces two more left-wing opponents: Pedro Sánchez, the former party leader, and Patxi López, the former president of the Basque Country.
Of the two, Sánchez is the most serious challenger. If he prevails, the Socialists could adopt a more adversarial approach to the minority right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy. Read more