PSOE’s Sánchez says party must look to future, not past

Pedro Sánchez stirring up paella on the campaign trail. Photo: Jaime Villanueva / El País
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• Former PSOE leader downplays old-guard leaders’ support for rival Susana Díaz
• Sánchez says PSOE must adapt to new realities, become ‘party of 21st century’

The former secretary-general of Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, has called on party activists to reject attempts by other candidates in the party leadership campaign to turn their attention to the past glory of the party, saying that looking backwards will hinder the PSOE’s ability to “conquer the future” and become the party representing Spain’s working classes in the 21st century.

At a campaign event in Santos de la Humosa in the Madrid community over the weekend, Sánchez alluded directly to leadership rival Susana Díaz, the Andalusian Socialist leader implicated in Sanchez’s ouster in an internal party coup last October, referencing news coverage of Díaz flanked by renowned party leaders of the past to tell supporters they do “not have to hold onto the past — you do not have to conquer the past, you have to conquer the future.”

Sánchez said the party’s old-guard leadership has not understood in the past three years the Spanish political system has changed dramatically, marked by upsurge of support for the PSOE’s left-wing rival Podemos (We Can) and centre-right party Ciudadanos. The Socialist party, he said, just evolve to become “a party of the 21st century and not the twentieth century.”

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

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