• 38-yr-old mayor of Laviana takes over from outgoing Javier Fernández
• Pro-Sanchez leaders expected to continue winning streak in other regions
The Asturian Socialist Federation (Federación Socialista Asturiana, or FSA-PSOE), affiliate of Spain’s national Socialist party (PSOE) in the northern region of Asturias, has elected a 38-year-old mayor allied with national PSOE Secretary General Pedro Sánchez to take over the reigns of the regional PSOE affiliate from Javier Fernández, the longtime socialist president of the Asturian region.
The outgoing Fernández gained national notoriety recently for his role as head of an interim PSOE caretaker committee that briefly took command of Spain’s Socialist party from Sánchez following an internal party leadership coup last year. Sánchez won re-election to the PSOE leadership in a special election in May with an absolute 50.2 percent majority of all ballots cast.
In a primary election held Sunday, 61 percent of voting FSA-PSOE members cast their ballots for 38-year-old Adrián Barbón, mayor of Laviana, a close ally of Asturian Socialist leader Adriana Lastra, who currently serves as Vice-Secretary General and principal spokesperson of the PSOE nationwide.
The election of Barbón to lead the Asturian socialists is seen as the first in a string of four anticipated victories for pro-Sánchez forces in regional socialist parties around Spain. Candidates loyal to Sánchez are also expected to win in upcoming regional primaries in Galicia, Murcia and Madrid, while regional socialist “barons” Emiliano García-Page and Javier Lambán are tapped to for a return to power in upcoming regional primaries in Castilla-La Mancha and Aragón, respectively.
Prior to the summer break, Sánchez loyalists won regional socialist party leadership elections in the Canary Islands, Cantabria and La Rioja, while pro-Sánchez incumbents faced off challenges and held onto power in the regional parties in the Balearic Islands, Castilla & Leon, Navarre and the Basque Country.