The power core of Pedro Sanchez, at government and in the match, it’s tight. Very few leaders and ministers of his highest confidence are fully aware of his strategy, his steps, his decisions. In Ferraz, the pillars, before and after the remodeling of the Cabinet last July, son Adriana Lastra and Santos Cerdan. After the fall of José Luis Ábalos, both assumed the helm of the party, and kept it after the 40th Federal Congress, last October, in Valencia. But it was now when the president wanted to make the papers very clear from both. And he has sent a clear message: after stripping her of the spokesperson in the lower house, he has reinforced his deputy secretary general, has provided more content to his portfolio to compensate her against the Secretary of Organization. In other words, it has rebalanced power at PSOE headquarters.
This past Monday, the management approved, three months after the congress, the regulations of the federal executive commission. That is to say, the document that defines the competences of each head of the leadership. And that’s where news happened, in the first echelon of command. Sánchez makes the direction of the communication policy fall to Lastra of the party and the establishment of “performance criteria” of the groups socialist parliamentarians in Congress, Senate and European Parliament. Two important attributions, which give more content to a position in principle empty of its own powers, compared to the power of the Organization, the area on which the dialogue with the territories rests and the reins of the organic life of the PSOE.
Lastra has already become number two in the 39th Congress, the one in 2017, the one that certified the Sánchez’s reconquest of the Ferraz throne after some bloody primaries against Susana Díaz. The powers of the deputy general secretary, as is tradition in the party, were reduced: all the tasks delegated by the leader, plus the coordination of internal work and the planning of the electoral strategy, together with the Secretary of Organization. It was also his task to approve, together with Ábalos, the “general criteria for parliamentary action“. At that time, the PSOE was in opposition, but after a year the general secretary took over the Executive after the motion of censure against Mariano Rajoy. The deputy secretary then became the parliamentary spokesperson in Congress. That It was his main mission.
In July 2021, Sánchez remodeled his Executive. A movement in which he made Ábalos fall. Lastra did not become the “plenipotentiary” leader, as Ferraz first warned. The leader promoted the former minister’s right-hand man, Santos Cerdán, to Organization, and commissioned him and number two to prepare for the 40th Congress. The president proposed to the Asturian leader, from his optics of non-accumulation of charges, who had to choose between the spokesperson in Congress or the party. She stayed with the party. Sánchez then chose to relieve her in the lower house by Héctor Gómez from the Canary Islands.
The 40th Congress kept Lastra y Cerdán as Deputy Secretary General and Secretary of Organization. But now the head of the Executive has preferred to rebalance the internal forces in Ferraz, in the last two years of the legislature, in which the federal headquarters is going to gain prominence due to the succession of electoral calls. But also as a medicine in the face of a possible increase in internal tensions.
As Ferraz sources indicated to this newspaper, and as the ‘SER’ advanced, the new regulation of the executive increases the power of the two. It gives him the command of the communication policy (which had always fallen to Organization) and the direction of the strategy in the parliamentary groups. That is she will establish the position that the party will adopt in Congress, Senate and European Parliament, above their respective spokespersons (Héctor Gómez, Eva Granados and Iratxe García).
In addition, Lastra will continue to share the planning of the electoral strategy with the person in charge of the apparatus, a duo that is joined by the Secretary of Electoral Action, Javier Izquierdo. In other words, the Organization is deprived of some functions in order to provide the deputy secretariat with more content. From the headquarters, iron is removed from this new redistribution: “It is a way of having the party structured, that each one has their clear competencies. But now we have the elections in Castilla y León and then in Andalusia, and then all the others.” The municipal and regional ones in May 2023 and the last ones, therefore, the general ones, if there is no advance payment.
There is another sign that indicates Lastra’s reinforcement: the executive approved the replacement at the Pablo Iglesias Foundation on Monday. Until now, it was chaired by Santos Cerdán. His successor will be the Asturian deputy and former Minister of Health Luisa Carcedo, very close to the deputy secretary general and who had been left behind after leaving the Executive, in January 2020, and the party leadership, after the Valencia conclave.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.