Pedro Sánchez has another reason to hold his breath in the coming days and this time it is not due to exogenous issues. The primaries to choose the candidate for the presidency of the Junta de Andalucía have gone almost unnoticed in the rest of Spain but in the PSOE they are seen as a determining milestone. What happens next Sunday, June 13, between Susana Díaz and Juan Espadas, Ferraz’s candidate, can strengthen or, on the contrary, become the first internal sign of leadership decline that the secretary general of the Socialists has served in a Caesarist manner since his victory against the former president of the Board in 2017.
The President of the Government decided to endorse the battle that the eternal detractors of Díaz had been claiming for a long time, convinced that there was already enough critical mass to remove it from the position inherited from José Antonio Griñán in 2013 and that, they say in the management, the party needed a revulsion to be able to face in the following elections the current regional president, the popular Juanma Moreno, very consolidated according to the polls.
In recent years, since she lost the executive, the once all-powerful leader of the Andalusian socialists has been losing internal support, some highly noted such as Francisco Reyes, secretary general of the PSOE of Jaén or Miguel Ángel Vázquez, exporter of the regional government. And Sánchez saw water to jump into the pool.
Before giving his go-ahead to the offense, however, the president he tried to dissuade Susana Díaz to step aside. In vain. In the heat of the campaign, she has come to insinuate this week that she was a victim of machismo and that other male leaders have been allowed to remain in office even after losing the elections. The accusation sounds to its critics a desperate move. They take for granted that the triumph of their candidate, the mayor of Seville, although they admit that it may not be so forceful (more than 50% of the votes) as to avoid a second round on June 20.
In the PSOE leadership believe it is obvious that Díaz’s time is over but nonetheless, they are cautious. All the preparations for the federal Congress next fall and the relays that were intended to be sponsored, then in different territories, have been “on hold” until the Andalusian outcome is known. Depending on what happens, Sánchez will have more or less strength to impose his preferences, as they recognize. That is another reason why the 13-J is expected to be key to helping to get out of the mood slump of the Madrid elections.
Take back the initiative
Socialists acknowledge that since the debacle they suffered on May 4 in front of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, a powerful sense of change of cycle has been installed, that Sánchez has lost the “magic” that accompanied him at the beginning of his mandate and that the rejection that generates outweighs adhesions. Recent polls do not exactly help to see the glass half full. Not only is it that they have already assumed that the PP will absorb, as happened in Madrid, the entire Citizens’ vote, which can help it add around 20 seats, they also fear that it will be able to get 4 or 5% of your own constituency. And the effect that the granting of pardons to those convicted of the ‘procés’ may have yet to be seen.
In the party they have been convinced, for months, that the president will try to recover the lost political initiative not only with changes in the federal executive and in the directions of territories such as Madrid and Galicia, to name the most obvious, but in the government itself. Not in vain, every time he has been forced, so far in the legislature, to undertake relays -for the participation of Salvador Illa in the Catalans of February, first, and for that of Pablo Iglesias in the Madrid, later- since Moncloa has also fed the idea that changes in draft will come once it can be considered that the price of the most burdensome decisions has already been paid of the legislature.
The conjunction of several elements – the Andalusian primaries; pardons expected for the end of the month or early July; herd immunity as a result of mass vaccination, scheduled for August, and the delivery of the first batch of European funds, 9.1 billion euros before September- rumors have increased in recent hours that the remodeling is closer of what was initially planned (which was around the summer) and that the time has come to turn around a team that, roughly, has remained unchanged since June 2018, when the motion of censure was won against Mariano Rajoy .
The president, who has always made his collaborators see his low tolerance for uncontrolled leaks, launched in any case a notice through the Secretary of State for Communication late on Thursday, in which although he did not deny the major, he recalled that only he has the authority to speak of a government crisis and execute it.