THE PSOE secretary general Pedro Sanchez wanted primaries to underpin his leadership. Theoretically that gave him time to prepare his third election campaign and the socialists’ third election defeat. Instead the Federal Committee voted against his proposal for a party conference and after 11 hours of tug of war he resigned. Just like that.
Removing Pedro Sanchez from the PSOE party leadership should help Mariano Rajoy form a minority Partido Popular government, the only sensible option after two inconclusive general elections.
It was also the only way to prevent the PSOE from imploding after a third election defeat. Meanwhile, Sanchez prepares for the last laugh, eternally reminding the party and fickle supporters that the PSOE put Rajoy back into power. Critics could instead remind Sanchez that this occurred only because his unconvincing leadership earned the PSOE just 85 seats in the June election and a rout in the recent regional polls. And no one’s laughing.
PEDRO SANCHEZ became a Madrid city councillor after the 2003 municipal elections when someone vacated their seat. He became an MP in the national parliament in 2009 because someone vacated their seat. He failed to get into parliament again in 2011, but hang on: someone vacated their seat and he was an MP again.
As the first name on the PSOE’s list of candidates in the December and June general elections Sanchez had the equivalent of a safe seat and managed to get elected. Says it all, really.
SANCHEZ was right on many counts. Mariano Rajoy does not deserve to govern after tacitly or negligently permitting corruption and introducing spending cuts that affected those least-equipped to survive them. But being right does not automatically win votes and being wrong, as Rajoy has demonstrated, does not necessarily lose them.
Matter of choice
PEDRO SANCHEZ is a salutary example of what happens when signed-up members of a political party choose its leader. Appealing to the grass roots does not necessarily appeal to the floating voters who decide the outcome of general elections. Before the Madrid bloodshed, Andalucia’s regional president Susana Diaz declared that the party belongs to all PSOE voters, not just the card-carriers. Or, as someone else put it, squaddies don’t select the generals.