• After 100 days under ‘interim’ caretaker, still no date for party conference
• Socialist party dissidents seek shift to left, Old Guard wants return to center
More than three months since a caretaker commission took over administration of Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE) following the ouster of general secretary Pedro Sánchez last October, the commission has still failed to set a firm date for a party conference to decide the ongoing dispute marked by the push from regional PSOE barons that led the anti-Sánchez coup to return the Socialists to the political center and party grassroots activists demanding a more militant and leftwing party platform.
The party dissidents, who in large part continue to support the as-yet-unannounced candidacy of Sánchez to run again for the PSOE general secretary post once the party conference is announced, have gathered nearly 100,000 signatures demanding the conference be held no later than April. Setting up local affiliate groups the length and breadth of Spain, they have also angered the party Old Guard and the caretaker commission by renting an office near the PSOE Madrid headquarters to push their the agenda.
Meanwhile, a committee of “experts” appointed by the caretaker commission in December has developed an eight-page working document that calls for the Socialists to move back toward the political center in an effort to recover their lost support at the ballot box in recent years. The expert panel, comprised of eight PSOE notables from around the country, is led by caretaker spokesman Mario Jiménez of the PSOE’s Andalucian affiliate and close associate of to PSOE-Andalucia leader Susana Díaz, seen as the principal rival to Sánchez for the party’s general secretrary slot.