Susana Díaz leads charge against PSOE’s Sánchez

PSOE Andalucia leader Susana Díaz speaks to reporters 27 Sep. 2016. Photo: El Mundo
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• Andalucian party leader says if necessary she’ll challenge Sánchez leadership
• Sánchez won’t resign, even if opponents block leadership vote, party Congress

The leader of Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE) in the southern region of Andalucia, Susana Díaz, has stepped forward to assume the lead in a move by regional PSOE ‘Barons’ and other critics of Socialist party leader Pedro Sánchez to block his proposal for leadership elections and a party Congress in the coming weeks.

Sánchez announced Monday that he would ask a Federal Committee meeting Saturday to call for the vote and Congress, in order to ratify or reject his refusal to enable the re-election of conservative Partido Popular (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy to lead Spain’s next government.

The critics, who were joined on Wednesday by former-PSOE leader and ex-President of Spain Felipe Gónzalez, are saying that following the negative election results for the Socialists in Sunday’s regional balloting in Galicia and the Basque Country, it is now time for a “period of reflection” by the PSOE and that party should not launch a full-scale leadership contest or hold a party Congress while Spain is still without a sitting government and another round of national elections are looming in December.

The Sánchez critics are saying openly that they will try to block the party leader’s plans in a Federal Committee meeting on Saturday, but if it comes to a leadership election Díaz said Tuesday that she will step forward to challenge Sánchez if her party colleagues ask her to.

Sánchez, meanwhile, said in a radio interview on Tuesday that he will not step down if the Federal Committee blocks his plans for a leadership election and a party Congress — effectively forcing his critics to try to oust him from the party leadership, which would require a vote and a party Congress to be called.

“Why are they calling for ‘reflection’ when what they really are trying to say is ‘abstention’?” Sánchez asked a Radio Cope interviewer, referring to the need for the PSOE to abstain in a congressional vote in order for Rajoy to take power. “As leader of the PSOE, what I cannot allow to happen is for them to force a decision upon me that I do not support and then make me carry it out.”

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

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