Monday, June 27

Sánchez and Díaz: the final battle | Spain

Pedro Sánchez, along with Susana Díaz, during an act of the match in 2019, in Huelva.
Pedro Sánchez, along with Susana Díaz, during an act of the match in 2019, in Huelva.PACO PUENTES

Since Pedro Sánchez won the primaries to Susana Díaz for the general secretary of the PSOE in May 2017, the relations between the two politicians have been marked by mistrust. That was the beginning. Then they went from mistrust to frontal fighting. Sánchez won. The Andalusian president formed an army of militants in all the socialist federations with the active and fundamental assistance of the main territorial barons. Together with them, the moral leaders of the PSOE, the references of that party, with Felipe González at the head, were placed next to Díaz.

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Before the total war between one and the other culminated in the victory of the Madrilenian politician, Díaz reaped successes with which he managed to corner Sánchez until he led to his resignation. In the retina, in the memory and in the hearts of many socialists is the traumatic federal committee of October 1, 2016, in which the then secretary general found that he was in the minority and resigned. The Andalusian president came out triumphant and with many plans. First, to fly freely, conforming a more autonomous Andalusian PSOE, in the manner of the PSC, and in a not too distant horizon she will be the leader of the party, of the entire party, and candidate for the presidency of the Government of Spain.

Against all odds of those who supported Díaz, the winner of the primaries for the general secretary of the PSOE was Sánchez. If the leaders did not want him, the militants did. The supporters of the one who was victorious also saw themselves victorious. Díaz returned to focus on Andalusia and Sánchez continued on his successful path until he reached La Moncloa: first, due to a motion of censure; later, through the polls. Andalusian politics lost the presidency of Andalusia. His electoral victory did not work given the will for an immediate pact shown by the PP and Ciudadanos, with the help of Vox. One, President of the Government of Spain; she, in opposition to the Andalusian Parliament.

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The tension did not end with Sánchez at La Moncloa. From Andalusia, pulses were raised with Ferraz with the composition of the lists to Congress in the 2019 elections. Executives related to Díaz relegated Sánchez’s ministers to the candidates’ positions. In the end, Ferraz always won. The Andalusian PSOE leader changed registration with Sánchez’s victory in the November 2019 elections, rendered to the evidence that her rival had all power. From then on it seemed that everything was going to be fine, although when the regional government in Ferraz lost there was a movement to immediately start the displacement of Díaz. But it stopped.

In internal meetings, Díaz insisted on narrating his conversations with the president and underlining his good relations “with Pedro.” At the same time, the critics of Díaz, often in an uncoordinated way, have been taking steps to unite a compact group, but without being clear about the alternative candidate. A meeting of senators and deputies to Congress in April 2020 was a turning point. Díaz called that appointment, from which he left the regional parliamentarians out, to try to convey that the PSOE was a pineapple. But in that conclave, there were 32 speaking turns and 23 were critical of the general secretary’s management and her way of exercising the opposition. Ferraz took note of what happened.

He also tried through the mayor of Dos Hermanas and president of the federal committee, Quico Toscano, an agreed exit for the former president, who was offered the presidency of the Senate after the general elections. None of these offers has made a dent in the Sevillian socialist, who this Thursday said bluntly: “I am not interested in power for power’s sake. My future is linked to the land that has seen me grow ”. Díaz is now proposing to win a primaries against Juan Espadas and with a slogan inspired by the Madrid president Isabel Díaz Ayuso: “One militant, one vote. In freedom, without impositions and with autonomy ”. This is how it will be, but the Andalusian socialists who are in favor of “renewal” are not considered losers at all.

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Critics have taken into account the pronouncements of provincial executives, mayors – mostly local secretaries of their group – and elected public officials. In favor of the primaries, the executives of Jaén, Granada and Cádiz have spoken; while in Córdoba, Almería and Seville it was voted against, but without monolithic majorities. In Malaga, where there is a strong division, it was avoided to bring the debate to the executive and in Huelva there is a manager who must keep neutrality. With these data, the forces are balanced and there is great uncertainty. In the primaries for the federal secretariat in May 2017 against Pedro Sánchez, Díaz gathered 63.1% of the votes in Andalusia, compared to 36.7% obtained by Sánchez (31.6%) and Patxi López (5, 1%). The last word is 45,759 militants, according to the latest available census.

Although the former president of the Junta de Andalucía was opposed to advancing the primaries, she has been touring the Andalusian groups for two months – about a hundred – to theoretically press the concerns of the mayors and present proposals in Parliament. The reality of the strategy is to attract support.

Díaz would have wanted to seal the peace in the face of his obvious defeat against Pedro Sánchez. There will be no such. From Ferraz they will try to make the victory complete, leaving in the gutter who led a full-blown offensive against Sánchez. They do not forget it. But it will be the militants who decide the future of Andalusian politics that did not accept the offers of the other party. Either the leadership of Andalusia or nothing. Díaz and Sánchez, faced until the end.

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Pressure for relief

Susana Díaz has experience in elementary schools. He competed against Pedro Sánchez for the federal secretariat in May 2017, which the current president won with 50.2% of the votes, compared to 39.9% for Díaz. Since the PSOE lost Andalusia, despite winning the elections in December 2018, the federal leadership has pushed for renewal. The Secretary of Organization, José Luis Ábalos, spoke a day after the elections of the “necessary regeneration” in the Andalusian federation and the permanent federal executive advocated “reinforcing and renewing in some cases the regional leadership to make the PSOE competitive in all territories ”.

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