Sánchez, López call for unity, Díaz set to join PSOE race

Former PSOE general secretary Pedro Sánchez on campaign trail in Melilla. Photo: F.G. Guerrero/EFE via El País
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• Former PSOE leader Sánchez calls for unity as Susana Díaz about to enter race
• Patxi López calls for run-off ballot that could block Díaz in second-round voting

Former Socialist party (PSOE) general secretary Pedro Sánchez continues his campaign to once again take the reigns of Spain’s oldest political party, calling on Sunday for a primary election process of “unity and competition” and for whoever loses the three-way race to lead the party to get behind the winner in a show of loyalty to the party.

While Sánchez has the backing of a large number of rank-and-file PSOE activists in his bid for the party leadership, he will be facing off against erstwhile ally Patxi López, the former Basque regional president (Lehendakari) who served as president of the Congress under Sánchez last year. Also set to join the fray is Susana Díaz, leader of the Andalucian Socialist party and current president of Spain’s southernmost region, who is widely viewed as having organized the internal party leadership coup that ousted Sánchez from power last October.

The election for the new PSOE general secretary will be held during the party’s 39th national party congress, slated for 17th-18th June in Madrid.

Díaz is the last of the three Socialist politicos to enter the race and sources close to the Andalucian leader say she will formally announce her candidacy on 26th March in Madrid. López said over the weekend that he favors a rule change to introduce a second-round run-off in the leadership election to ensure that the next party leader will be chosen with no less than 50 percent of the vote and that the PSOE emerges from the congress strengthened and united behind one leader.

► Read More in Spanish at El País, El Mundo and Expansión …

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