patxi-lopez-gTHE leadership race for the socialist party has swung into action.

Popular Basque Patxi Lopez is the first politician to announce his intention to stand in the PSOE contest in May.

If elected, the former Party of Euskadi president has promised a ‘return to the basics of socialism’ and a hard line against Mariano Rajoy’s PP government.

Lopez is expected to be a popular choice for party members against the two other likely candidates, current Junta de Andalucia head Susana Diaz and ex-PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez.

All candidates must announce their intention to stand by the end of March.

Primary elections will be held in May, with the victor formally chosen on June 17 and 18, when the Socialists hold their annual congress.

Sanchez resigned from the role in October, triggering the need to find a new leader.

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