• Socialist rebuffs Podemos offer to let PSOE assume lead in early censure move
• Sánchez prefers to let PP corruption scandal grow, launch attack in September
The newly re-elected secretary-general of the Socialist party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, will reportedly not cede to pressure from leftwing rival Podemos (We Can) for the PSOE to move forward quickly with its own motion of censure against President Mariano Rajoy of the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP).
Elected with an absolute majority in the Socialist leadership balloting on Sunday, Sánchez is said to be working to a different schedule that will see the PSOE wait until after Sánchez’s formal installation at the PSOE’s mid-June party Congress, then wait through the summer recess to launch a full-frontal attack in September against Rajoy. The September timing is set to coincide with the resumption of the next session of Congress at a time when several ongoing cases against the PP over alleged corruption and illegal party financing are expected to be at their climax in the Spanish courts.
Last Friday, Podemos registered a motion calling for censure of Rajoy (a vote of no-confidence) and yesterday immediately followed up the PSOE election results with a campaign to persuade the newly re-elected Sánchez to move forward with a PSOE motion of censure, in exchange for which Podemos would withdraw its own motion. The offer from Podemos was first announced at a Monday press conference by Podemos secretary for organization Pablo Echenique and then seconded in a phone call from Podemos parliamentary spokesperson Irene Montero to Sanchez chief of staff Juanma Serrano.
According to press reports, Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias formalized the offer in a phone call to Sánchez late Monday, informing the newly re-elected Socialist leader that Podemos would be willing to withdraw its motion of censure anytime up until the start of paraliamentary debate in favor of a motion presented by the PSOE. Otherwise, and even though the Podemos motion is facing near-certain defeat in a congressional vote, the Podemos censure motion will move forward toward debate and a vote that would force the PSOE to take a public position and risk being painted as supportive of Rajoy, should Socialist deputies either abstain or vote against the Podemos motion.
Sources close to the Socialist leader say that Sánchez prefers to wait and launch a campaign of parliamentary harassment and attrition against the Rajoy government beginning in September, when public opinion against the governing party is likely to have increased owing to the steady stream of news media revelations linked to the corruption cases ongoing in the courts. Until then, they say, Sánchez will stick to the calls made during his PSOE leadership campaign, demanding that Rajoy appear before a full session of Congress to respond to allegations of illegal financing of the PP and the party’s elections campaigns over the last several years.