It was the result Spain’s Socialist bigwigs had feared: a resounding victory for Pedro Sánchez in their party’s primary on Sunday, beating Andalusia premier Susana Díaz and former Basque premier Patxi López, to become leader for a second time.
Spanish Socialist Party
The gathering of endorsement signatures by candidates ahead of the leadership contest of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) is not usually seen as overly significant. The numbers are a vague indicator, no more, of the support a particular candidate can expect in the final vote by party activists. But this time, ahead of the PSOE’s May 21 primary, it’s different.
After successive defeats in the general elections over the last four years, the socialist party has ousted its leader. This time round, the dismissal was carried out by force, with an agonising voting process via a show of hands after 12 hours of debate over how and what to vote.
Ten million Spaniards watched the most important debate between candidates from the four parties which could form a Government in Spain on Monday night. And yet the participants did not clarify the most important point: Will there be a Government after the elections on June 26?
The Spanish Socialist Party is under heavy pressure in the aftermath of the general elections. The extremist Podemos movement nearly ousted it as the leader of left-wing sentiment. But neither can it support the ruling Partido Popular right away, nor risk blocking the forming of a new government and provoking another round of elections. It would pay a high price if it embarked on such a course of action.