Spain’s Socialist party on the brink after ‘coup attempt’ sees half of its leadership resign

Party members will decide whether or not to elect a new leader

LAST UPDATED: 29 Sep, 2016 @ 12:23

Pedro SanchezSPAIN’S PSOE is in crisis following yesterday’s ‘coup’ attempt which saw half of its leadership resign.

Seventeen party executives handed in their resignations in a bid to oust incumbent leader Pedro Sanchez.

The PSOE scored historically low results in the December and June general elections and received a drubbing in last weekend’s regional votes.

Paired with two previous resignations, the number of party leaders who have quit is now 19 out of 35, more than the majority.

Cesar Luena
Cesar Luena

The party’s number two Cesar Luena said Sanchez, who remained silent following the coup, remained firmly in place.

He said that under party rules, an extraordinary meeting of grassroots members must now be called to elect a new executive, and that they will decide on whether they want their leader to remain.

“The grassroots members are those who must decide what project and leadership they want,” Luena said.

“Tricks and coups don’t have their place here.”

He added: “The Socialist party leader is its secretary general, and the PSOE’s secretary general – elected by party members – is Pedro Sanchez.”
Several PSOE ‘barons’ have criticised Sanchez for voting against the right wing coalition offered up by Mariano Rajoy earlier this month.

The barons and other party insiders argue that if he had allowed Rajoy’s right wing government to take power, the PSOE could go into opposition and build up strength again.

Sanchez is now trying to form his own coalition with far left anti-austerity party Podemos.

UNIMPRESSED: Felipe Gonzalez
UNIMPRESSED: Felipe Gonzalez

Former Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez has since accused Sanchez of ‘tricking’ him.

“He told me he would go into opposition, that he would not attempt any alternative government,” he said.

“I feel frustrated… as if I had been tricked.”

Sanchez is hoping that the fact that most grassroots members do not want a government led by Rajoy will play in his favour.





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  1. I hope PSOE collapse at regional level too, it would be good to get rid of the PSOE-led Junta de Andalucia after more than 30 years of achieving nothing and it might help the so called illegal property situation if someone else took charge. AFO/DAFO is not the answer and a new party would hopefully come up with something workable that would kick start the local economy and property market.

    • Understand your anger and frustration Jane, but realistically, the alternative (nationally) is Rajoy. Again.
      Ciudadanos is the PP pretending to be nice and too small to make a difference. Podemos/Unidos and other left groupings have not lived up to their early promise. So where is the new movement to come from? In three months? Situations such as this has led to military take-overs in other countries.
      Don’t want that, do we?
      There is a slim chance that the PSOE with the new and old lefties being a counter-balance on them, could be viable. But then, that didn’t work in Britain with the Lib Dems and Tories either.
      Scientifically speaking, Spain is in shtook.

  2. Stefanjo, you name it: Spain is in shtook. The country needs a effective government, regardless who will do the job. Why cannot PSOE form a coalition as the junior partner of PP, taking all concessions that Rajoy had already agreed to Ciudadanos? I agree, that is not much, but better than nothing. Reforming this country will take a long time and somebody has to start that process.

    If PSOE tries a left wing government together with Podemos and deputies from small fractions at the price of independence for Catalunya, they are not worth to govern Spain. And PSOE will be split into minor fractions either.

    Otherwise a military takeover may not be an absurd option.

    • The important issue in all this is removing Rajoys’ backside from his corrupted seat. A coalition of PSOE and PP would be as odd as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn forming an alliance. Or are you saying (probably accurately) that it’s impossible to put a cigarette paper of difference between the PP and PSOE?
      In that case, Spain desperately needs a true alternative and if it doesn’t get it’s act together, the military is always happy to provide their own alternative.

  3. Stefanjo, I agree, it is a mess. As far as Andalucia is concerned, things are so bad, anyone else would be better than PSOE and they have been in power for over 30 years which is unhealthy. What have they actually done for the people of Andalucia apart from put them at the top of the national unemployment table? If the next regional elections are anything like the national ones, the vote will be so split, no party is likely to get a majority and that might lead to something better than the status quo – how could it be worse? Admittedly PSOE are currently being propped up by the C’s but they are a very junior partner and don’t have much clout.

    Nationally, I think Wolfgang has a point. At least if the PP and PSOE form a grand coalition, it is unlikely that either party will be able to do anything too diabolical (they will have difficulty in agreeing anything) and this will effectively keep their worst excesses in check.

    Weak government is the best you can hope for, rather like a damage limitation exercise really but overall, I think everyone is running out of ideas on this one.

  4. Yes, regarding corruption no cigarette paper of difference can be placed between PP and PSOE. But that’s not the main point. Spain needs a government being backed by a majority of the parliament. Otherwise no other country wants to negotiate with Spain as it is not clear whether results of a negotiation can be betrusted (remember that the US refuses to negotiate with Spain on Palomares as long as there is no elected government). The same will be true for foreign investors.
    Also, as Podemos and Ciudadanos have no record of government, they first have to train politics in the opposition seats. In the long run, the new parties will disappear or they will be empowered by the Spanish voters to take over the government.

    In Germany Angela, Sigmar and Horst are able to run a successful coalition despite they cannot love each other. Then Mariano and Pedro can manage that too.