Spain’s opposition Socialists will elect a new leader on Sunday, in a an effort to reverse the party’s dramatic electoral decline and head off the challenge from new and existing parties to its left.
After seven years in government, the Socialists were ousted by the right wing Popular Party in a landslide general election in 2011.
Since, the party has continued to lose support. In an unprecedented electoral disaster the Socialist Workers’ party of Spain (PSOE) garnered just 23% down from 39% five years ago in the May European Parliament elections.
The result gave rise to fears of yet another heavy defeat in next year’s general election. Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the party leader who was part of the party’s old guard, having served under Jose Luis Zapatero and before him Felipe Gonzalez, announced his resignation to make way for fresh blood at the top. Continue reading
It would be foolish to read this weekend’s local elections in Galicia and the Basque country, in Spain, as an endorsement of Mariano Rajoy’s self-perpetuating austerity policies. But instead, the strongest message was the confirmation of the Spaniards’ enduring distrust of the socialists.
The party that ruled Spain for almost eight years during the build-up of its ruinous bank debt fuelled real-estate bubble, saw its share of the vote fall sharply, dropping from 25 seats to 18 in Galicia, and from 25 to 16 in the Basque Country.