• In exclusive television interview, Sánchez denounces ‘El País’ editorial threats
• Calls PSOE interim caretaker ‘shameful’, says rank-and-file must reclaim party
In a bold political move Sunday night, during a surprise interview on La Sexta television’s Salvados news programme, ousted Socialist party (PSOE) general secretary Pedro Sánchez all but announced he will again stand for the leadership of his party, throwing down the gauntlet to opponents within the PSOE leadership and powerful business and media interests he said had directly pressured him to steer clear of a progressive alliance with anti-austerity party Podemos and support a conservative Partido Popular (PP) government led by acting-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
During an exclusive interview with Salvados programme host Jordi Évole, Sánchez criticized the interim caretaker committe that replaced him following a party coup in early October led by Andalucian Socialist leader Susana Díaz and other Socialist party bosses, calling the committee “shameful” and saying he believed its decision to force all 85 Socialist deputies to abstain in Saturday’s confidence vote in Congress was unwarranted, since Rajoy only needed 11 abstentions to form a minority government.
Throwing more light on why he resigned his seat in Congress just prior to Saturday’s vote, Sánchez said he believed the mandated abstention was designed specifically to discredit him, since accepting party discipline and abstaining would make him go back on his pledge to vote “No” to Rajoy, while direct disobedience by a former general secretary to an order from his party’s leadership would virtually disqualify him from leading the party again.
► ► CLICK ABOVE TO WATCH SÁNCHEZ ‘SALVADOS’ INTERVIEW ► ►
Sánchez also lashed out directly at national daily newspaper El País, as well as former Telefonica chairman Cesar Alierta and the corporate leadership of two unnamed Spanish banks for directly pressuring him to drop any talk of forming an alternative, progressive government with anti-austerity party Podemos and to ensure a Socialist party abstention to enable a conservative PP government led by Rajoy. Sánchez said he was directly threatened by top executives at El Pais that if he did not agree to abstain and support a Rajoy government, the newspaper would launch harsh editorial attacks against him — which subsequently occurred in the days and weeks immediately prior to his ouster in early October.
Calling on Susana Díaz to do some soul-searching as to why she began withdrawing support for his leadership of the party early in his two-year tenure, Sánchez said that unlike her predecessors Díaz had turned the Socialists’ powerful Andalucian affiliate party into what he said had become a destabilizing force within the PSOE.
Announcing that he had set up a web page at www.sanchezcastejon.es designed to mobilize party activists to reclaim their party from the Socialists’ old guard and regional bosses, Sánchez said he would begin touring the country immediately to consult with the party’s bases. If asked by a sufficient number of the Socialist rank-and-file to stand for the party leadership, he said he will launch his candidacy and stand against Díaz and any other contenders for the position of PSOE general secretary.