• Pedro Sánchez calls for immediate party Congress to choose new leadership
• Ousted Socialist leader says interim committee’s transition period has expired
Former Socialist party (PSOE) general secretary Pedro Sánchez has said the PSOE’s interim caretaker committee, set up after his ouster in an internal party leadership coup in October, has exceeded the time seen as necessary under party statutes to call a general party Congress, publicly adding his voice to the chorus of PSOE activists across the country demanding that a full Congress of the membership be called immediately to elect a new party leadership.
Speaking Saturday in Xirivella, Valencia, before a crowd estimated at between 1,000-1,500 Socialist party members from Valencia and around the country, Sánchez said he was not there to launch a personal campaign to reconquer the party leadership but join the tens of thousands of party activists nationwide who are calling for an immediate party Congress.
Sánchez was ousted in a party leadership coup said to have been promoted by Andalucian Socialist leader Susana Díaz and abetted by other regional party bosses and Sánchez rivals after he refused to bow to pressure to have the party’s deputies in Congress abstain in a vote to elect conservative Partido Popular (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy as prime minister. The interim committee established after the coup was given a mandate by the PSOE’s Federal Committee to transition the party through the Rajoy inauguration and to convene a Congress of the full membership to elect a new PSOE leadership, has now indicated it will not convene a full Congress of the party membership until June.
Critics of the interim committee who say it is dominated by the regional party bosses who ousted Sánchez, including Díaz, note that the Andalucian party leader as already declared her willingness to stand for the top party leadership post and say the PSOE’s interim committee is stalling for time to allow Díaz to organize her supporters for a leadership contest in June.
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