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FRANCE’S Socialist Party (PS) needs examining under a microscope, because it is now microscopically small.

Far Left-leaning Benoit Hamon was trounced in the first round of the presidential elections and the party did no better in the recent parliamentary elections.

President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche-MODEM coalition won 350 of 577 seats while the PS plummeted from 284 to 40-odd.

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Former socialist prime minister Manuel Valls retained his Paris seat by the skin of his teeth and 139 votes.

Pedro Sanchez, on a roll after the PSOE national conference, will find reasons to dismiss parallels with the choice of Hamon as the PS leader and his own re-enthronement as secretary general.

Sanchez is safe for the time being as Spain still lacks a Macron and is unlikely to acquire one. Meanwhile he and the PSOE sector should ponder Hamon’s fate, while thinking long and hard.

Do the maths

PEDRO SANCHEZ naturally hopes to evict Spain’s president, Mariano Rajoy, from the Moncloa Palace.

That’s part of a political party’s job description but simple arithmetic shows that with 85 out of 350 seats the PSOE can’t pull this off alone. Sanchez hopes to square the circle by persuading Ciudadanos and Podemos to join him in toppling Rajoy.

Ciudadanos was originally a civic movement opposed to Catalan independence. Meanwhile Podemos flirts with the notion that Spain is ‘a nation of nations.’

Ciudadanos and Podemos are the twain that never shall meet so Sanchez might as well try to square the circle – and that’s geometry, not simple arithmetic.

Be very afraid

THE PSOE barons or regional presidents never took to Pedro Sanchez but pledged their loyalty and support the second time around.

Apart from Francina Armengol in Baleares they were instrumental in removing Sanchez last October, so Susana Diaz, Ximo Puig and their fellow barons have much to fear.

The newly-elected PSOE executive committee stressed that it will not seek to oust them from their dual roles of president and regional secretary.

But neither, stressed the committee’s spokesman Oscar Puente, would it hinder grassroots moves to do so.

The committee should nevertheless tread warily. Those barons were elected by voters, not the card-carrying party membership, and the newly-selected Executive Committee ignores this at its peril.

Freedom of speech

EL PAIS, and the SER radio station and others were recently excluded from an informal Podemos breakfast meeting.

As none are to the party’s liking this puts a new slant on freedom of the press.

In other words, write what you like so long as it’s what Podemos supremo Pablo Iglesias wants to hear.

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