DOUBTLESSLY trying to push an historically poor performance in December, and his party’s recent slip behind Podemos in the polls, to the back of public minds, PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez made one last ditch plea to Spanish voters before they head to the polls once again on Sunday.
“It is useless to vote for Rajoy, and it is useless to vote for Iglesias because he has demonstrated an inability to negotiate”, said the man who failed to make a compromise with either of the two during coalition talks.
In an interview with El Pais Sanchez reiterated his party’s claim to representing the Spanish left, arguing that the passion engendered by Podemos, while seeing success, was ultimately unreflective of the broader population.
“To me, the left represents tolerance, compromise. Not hubris and intransigence, as we have seen over the last six months. Spain does not deserve to be run by individuals who create a lot of rejection among the public. And surveys show that the two leaders who are most strongly rejected are Rajoy and Iglesias. Also, to me, the left is international in its outlook, not separatist,” he argued, bringing the contentious notion of Podemos’ support for a Catalan referendum into play.
With the breakdown of the two-party system, which has dominated the Spanish political landscape since the fall of Francoism, the PSOE is looking to capture the middle ground of voters turned off by the conservatism and corruption of PP governance, yet troubled by the radicalism of the emergent Unidos Podemos alliance.
That centre ground is of course also being targeted by anti-corruption party Ciudadanos, although Albert Rivera’s party have been slipping in the polls as voters split along firmer ideological lines.