PSOE leadership campaign officially launches

Susana Díaz speaking to reporters Thursday at Socialist party hqs in Catalonia. Photo: Alvaro Monge / El Periódico
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•Three-way race to decide leadership and future direction of Socialist party
• Sánchez campaign complains of delays in receiving voter registration lists

The long-awaited Socialist party campaign pitting former party general secretary Pedro Sánchez, Andalucian regional president Susana Díaz and former Basque regional president Patxi López officially kicked off Monday with a three-day deadline for each of the candidates to present the paperwork to enter the race to lead Spain’s oldest political party, known by its Spanish acronym as the PSOE.

From Wednesday, the three candidates will have two weeks until April 20th to collect endorsements and then eight days later each campaign team will be presented with a full list of the eligible Socialist voters to canvass. The delay in the presentation of the voter rolls to the campaign teams has already caused controversy, with the Sánchez campaign saying there is no need for a delay and hinting the move by the party’s interim caretaker committee may be designed to undercut Sánchez’s ability to effectively target voters he needs to win the leadership post.

In Andalucia, Socialist party activists are already jockeying to see who might succeed Susana Díaz in the leadership of the regional Socialist party, should she be successful in her bid to leader the PSOE nationally. There is reportedly fear among party cadres that Díaz’s departure for the national scene could undercut the party’s regional fortunes in Andlucia, where the PSOE’s left-wing rival Podemos is strong and the Socialists hold onto power by a slim margin and only with the support of centre-right Ciudadanos party.

The launch of the campaign comes after the Semana Santa holiday break in Spain, during which the Socialist party mourned the sudden death of one of its most promising young leaders, the Catalan Socialist and former Spanish Defense Minister Carmen Chacón, who died last week of heart failure at the age of 46.

► Read More in Spanish at El Diario, El País and El Periódico …

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