-What you want is to put me in a pine coffin.
December 2020. Susana Díaz, former president of the Junta de Andalucía and general secretary of the Andalusian PSOE, repeats that phrase several times before her other two interlocutors: Quico Toscano, mayor of Dos Hermanas (Seville) and president of the federal committee of the PSOE, and Manuel Jiménez Barrios, former Andalusian vice president and deputy spokesman for the socialist group. Toscano tries to make him see that it is necessary to take another player onto the pitch to regain the lost confidence of the Andalusians two years before (autonomous elections of December 2018) and suggest that he open up to an agreed replacement.
“She believes that she is the one chosen by God and that is very difficult. We are losing. We need a shock and take note that we made mistakes. Some of us have advised you that you can be useful in another position. But there has been no way, ”he tells EL PAÍS Toscano, who supports Juan Espadas in the primary race.
Susana Díaz Pacheco (Seville, 46 years old) has spent weeks traveling frantically, up to eight acts a day, the Andalusian socialist groups to convince the 46,577 voters to choose her as a candidate for the presidency of the Board. It is the first time that Andalusian militants will have the opportunity to vote for their electoral poster and without, this time, the Official Gazette of the Junta de Andalucía having the slightest impact.
Díaz is in the process of transformation. Again. When he reached the presidency of the Board, after the resignation of José Antonio Griñán, in September 2013, he was advised to polish his many edges, the result of his years of work in the party. She says that the loss of the Board has made her see “things differently.” And that since he is in the opposition he is more “humble”.
His own see it that way too. “The circumstances are very different. It is not the same to be in power as in opposition. It must necessarily make people change, because you have to listen to people and you have to be more on the street. It has polished the defects that it may have had and has become closer. I don’t know anyone who wins more over short distances. If he wins the primaries, he will have the vitola of an invincible person, ”says José Fiscal, spokesman for the socialist parliamentary group and one of Díaz’s main supporters. Juan Pablo Durán, former president of the Andalusian Parliament and deputy for Córdoba, insists on this idea: “We made mistakes and he is acknowledging them.”
Former President Griñán sees “with concern” these primaries in which two friends face each other. He pointed to Diaz to replace him. “It is very intelligent, exhausting, but inexhaustible. And Espadas is very conscientious, knows how to dialogue and is a great mayor ”.
Díaz is personally calling the militants affected by the covid to inquire about their health and sending them flowers. Nobody disputes his capacity for work, nor his pull in short distances, where he does not neglect any request and does not forget a face. Although it is the one of the militant of the most remote group of the Alpujarras. “It has always been the most apparatus, the party is known and it knows them all,” intervenes a leader who knew her as secretary of the Andalusian Socialist Youth Organization. He remembers how then Díaz paid the outstanding fees of his organization by hand to be able to participate in a vote.
In this campaign he wears T-shirts with messages in English – it was released with the Positive energy (positive energy) – and he regrets that they have been pushing him for “two years”, that he has realized that at his “side he does not want clapping hands to water his ear”. He also says that they have offered him “the gold and the moor” to take a step to the side. And all the time he claims an autonomous Andalusian PSOE and without interference from Ferraz. She promises mayors to do everything she did not do when she was president of the Board.
Many people raise their eyebrows at a reinvented Susana Díaz. “She tries to play the victim as if she were new to the party, but how can she say that they are trying to remove her for being a woman? That there is pressure on the militants, that there are inflated censuses, that she does not distribute charges … Susana Díaz Pacheco? ”, Assures a congress deputy. “Since she was a child, she has never lacked a good institutional position and she has not known how to function respecting others. He has always been on the side of those who had power and he has never had people who twist his will, ”says Toscano.
Amparo Rubiales, doctor in law, feminist, first counselor of the Andalusian Government, affirms that she is “sad and hurt” with Díaz’s allusion that she is not given another chance because she is a woman. “The real thing is that the Andalusians have told him that he cannot continue, it is already amortized. He lost the primaries against all odds after the number of the federal committee of October 1, 2016 to make Pedro Sánchez resign from the general secretary to support the investiture of Mariano Rajoy ”, he assures.
What happened there marked many. Four years after the internal process that brought the PSOE to the brink, in its greatest recent crisis in 142 years of history, Díaz’s relationship with the barons is not what it was. Not even with the most like-minded. It has gotten very cold and in some cases it is non-existent. “Susana shouldn’t have gone to the primaries. His cycle ended. There are times when you have to know how to turn back and learn from such personalistic journeys. Bringing the party to this tension after the tensions of the past does not seem to me responsible, ”thinks one of the regional presidents who supported him most vigorously. “Since the federal congress of 2017 he distanced himself immediately,” he abounds.
The discomfort with the abandonment of the Andalusian delegation from the federal congress in June of that year, a month after Sánchez’s re-election, to leave for the reeds while the statutes and resolutions were debated is still very present. A video of the moment ran like wildfire so chats socialists. “Susana gave us the order and we left. And that is not forgiven in other federations that split their faces for her ”, recalls an Andalusian senator. “What an image, so much so that he said that he only cared about the party,” says a provincial secretary in northern Spain.
Although the entire PSOE is following the pulse in Andalusia with expectation, the barons consulted declined to make any kind of declaration with names and surnames out of “respect” for the primaries. And for the fear of reopening the wounds of a process that, they want to think, has been overcome. “The distancing has been mutual”, abound in the environment of another regional president, where they highlight that the “point of no return” occurred with the preparation of the lists for the general elections of April 2019. Díaz, in a position of maximum weakness after losing the Board, he put up an initial resistance to Ferraz’s design.
This is where the cracks begin in the Andalusian PSOE around Díaz. Not all Andalusian provincial secretaries agreed to stand up to Ferraz. In fact, there was a pact in four provinces. The gap was not only due to the lists, but also due to information published in Abc in which it was ensured that the Andalusian PSOE promoted a federated party, such as the PSC. Díaz, according to various sources, sent his former Minister of the Economy, Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, as a messenger. He did not discuss the matter with anyone. There, there was a break with who had been his parliamentary spokesman and spokesman for the manager who led the PSOE after the resignation of Sánchez on October 1, Mario Jiménez.
But Díaz quickly reinvented herself as one of the most unconditional autonomous leaders of the PSOE – at least in public – with the Prime Minister and leader of the Socialists. “From there it retreats and becomes the most rocky”, they conclude on the 180º turn.
For some of the cadres that most endorsed Díaz, the turnaround was a tactical movement with the sole aim of buying time while rebuilding forces until the battle for the leadership of Andalusian socialism. He even disassociated himself from figures such as Mario Jiménez and Máximo Díaz Cano, his right-hand man on the Board. Díaz, avoiding self-criticism, blamed them for the bad relationship with Sánchez. Now Diaz’s central message regarding the candidacy of Juan Espadas is that she would guarantee the autonomy of the largest PSOE federation “against Madrid.” That is, Ferraz.
The thorn that hurts Susana Díaz the most is the loss of the Junta, after almost 37 years of uninterrupted socialist governments. The PSOE won in 2018, but lost 400,389 votes, and for the first time in history the right wing added more than the left. Four months later, Pedro Sánchez took 557,793 more ballots for the PSOE in Andalusia. Jiménez Barrios, Prosecutor and Durán say that Díaz “is convinced” that he can return to the Board and they believe it too. “It is worth trying again. It is not understood that having won, he will not repeat it again. The elections were won, but in a difficult political context, with pressure from the Catalan independence movement and the PP campaign with the ERE ”, says Jiménez Barrios.
Another person who knows her very well from Youth assures that for Díaz the presidency of the Board is only the instrument to continue at the head of the general secretary of the Andalusian PSOE. “Susana Díaz continues pedaling because San Vicente [sede regional socialista] it’s his bike and if he doesn’t pedal he falls off. It has nothing to do with the presidency of the Board, above anything else she wants to continue being the general secretary. And she has understood that, if she is not a candidate, she will not be ”, she affirms.
Provincial secretaries, deputies and senators consider that the Achilles heel of Díaz’s story is that, in 2017, if she had been elected secretary general of the PSOE, she would have left Andalusia for the direction of Ferraz of which she is now so suspicious. “That is already part of history,” says the former vice president of the Board, without going into more details. “Those were past times,” reiterates José Fiscal. But for Toscano it is not so old. “She wanted to be president of Spain and delegitimized herself by leaving Andalusia as a second course. The Andalusians do not forgive them and that is where we lost part of the votes. We don’t want the same to happen ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.