Catalan Socialists Choose Opposition Over Deal with Separatists

Catalonia's Miquel Iceta addresses a Spanish Socialist Party congress in Alcalá de Henares, November 11
Catalonia’s Miquel Iceta addresses a Spanish Socialist Party congress in Alcalá de Henares, November 11 (PSOE)

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

Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez answers questions from reporters in Brussels, October 18
Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez answers questions from reporters in Brussels, October 18 (PSOE)

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

Sánchez Makes Good on Promise to Move Spain’s Socialists to the Left

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)

Pedro Sánchez is making good on his promise to move Spain’s Socialist Party to the left.

In the clearest sign yet of a new program, the Socialists refused to vote for a European trade pact with Canada in the national legislature last week.

Their deputies in the European Parliament did endorse the treaty when it came up for a vote there in February.

The ruling conservatives managed to ratify the treaty anyway with support from smaller parties in the center. But the Socialists’ abstention is a sign of things to come. Read more

Pedro Sánchez 2.0

Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez celebrates his victory in Madrid, May 21
Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez celebrates his victory in Madrid, May 21 (PSOE)

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

Sánchez’ Revenge: Spanish Socialist Leader Stages Comeback

Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016
Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016 (PSOE)

The former leader of Spain’s Socialist Party, Pedro Sánchez, has avenged himself against the woman who led a coup against him last year.

Susana Díaz, the regional president of Andalusia, was the favorite to win the party leadership. She had the backing of regional bosses and the Socialist Party machine.

Yet it was Sánchez who prevailed. With 85 percent of the votes counted, he had built up enough of a lead on Sunday night to call the primary in his favor. Read more

Díaz Calls for Pragmatism in Spain’s Socialist Party Campaign

Susana Díaz, the president of Andalusia, answers questions from regional lawmakers in Seville, March 16
Susana Díaz, the president of Andalusia, answers questions from regional lawmakers in Seville, March 16 (Junta de Andalucía)

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

Spanish Left Needs to Decide Between Power and Principle

Pablo Iglesias speaks at a Podemos rally in Madrid, Spain, May 22, 2015
Pablo Iglesias speaks at a Podemos rally in Madrid, Spain, May 22, 2015 (Maria Navarro Sorolla)

Spain’s two left-wing parties need to decide if they want to stick to their principles and keep their hands clean — or if they’re willing to make compromises in order to get into power.

At a party conference this weekend, members of the anti-establishment Podemos movement are asked to endorse one of two visions: either stay the hard-left course under Pablo Iglesias, the current leader, or switch to the more pragmatic policy of his deputy, Iñigo Errejón.

The mainstream Socialists face a similar choice in their leadership election. Patxi López and Pedro Sánchez advocate opposition to the minority right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy. Susana Díaz, the president of Andalusia, represents the moderate wing of the party, which argues against blowing up an accord that has kept Spain governable since October. Read more