Sánchez resigns seat rather than abstain on Rajoy

PSOE's Pedro Sanchez resigns seat in Congress on Saturday. Photo: Julián Rojas / El País
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• Cites ‘profound differences’ with Socialists’ interim caretaker administration
• To embark on national drive to ‘recover’ PSOE for rank-and-file membership

Just hours prior to a confidence vote in Congress on Saturday on the bid by acting-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) to form Spain’s next government, former Socialist party (PSOE) general secretary Pedro Sánchez resigned his seat in Congress in protest, citing “profound differences” with the abstention vote mandated by his party’s interim caretaker administration to enable a Rajoy minority government.

Sánchez, who was ousted as general secretary in early October over his refusal to back a Rajoy-led government and replaced by an interim caretaker administration, said that he had decided to resign his seat in Congress because of the impossible choice imposed upon him by the Socialists’ caretaker committee of either betraying his ideals by casting an abstention vote to enable a Rajoy government or directly disobeying a directive from his party’s hierarchy by following his conscience and voting “No” to Rajoy.

In prepared remarks delivered to members of the news media following his resignation, Sánchez said he believed the Socialist party hierarchy had made a big mistake in its decision to enable a Rajoy government over and above the objections of thousands of party activists who supported his “No” position and who had directly elected him to the position of general secretary in the party’s first-ever binding primary elections in 2014.

Sánchez called on the Socialists’ caretaker committee to immediately convene a full party Congress so that the party’s bases could vote to decide the direction of the party and choose a new leader. In an indication he would likely stand for the party’s leadership again, Sánchez said that starting Monday he would be traveling the length and breadth of Spain, meeting and speaking with the party’s rank-and-file membership in an effort to reconstruct the party and make it responsive to the membership’s wishes once again.


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

► Read More in English at The Guardian …

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