Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Susi, Pete and Frank

Rather surprisingly, considering the recent history of Spain, we don't have a General Election on the horizon. Of course that's not strictly true. The Podemos people are pushing a parliamentary no confidence motion and if that were to prosper then, General Election here we come. But it won't.

We do, though, have a bit of a leadership battle in the PSOE, the Socialist Party. You will remember that we had a couple of General Elections in quick succession. The PP, the blues, the conservatives, won both times but they didn't get a majority. To be President /Prime Minister here you need a majority. The orange party, Ciudadanos, wobbled around a bit about who to back - given that there were two General Elections they had two real choices and they used them both. After the second and decisive election they sided with the blues and that's why we have the current Government. The PSOE, the reds, the socialists, were led by a bloke called Pedro Sánchez - he tried to form a government after the first election, the orange people were with him but the mauve people, Podemos, the bunch that don't wear ties, said the socialists were of the old order and not to be trusted. In the final analysis Pedro simply couldn't raise the support he needed. That's why we had the second General Election. Neither of the two biggest parties could muster enough support to form a government after the first.

After the second General Election Pedro, of the reds, was saying no -  no to backing the blues. If the reds didn't help the blues there would have to be a third General Election. Pedro was not for supporting the conservatives into government. There was a lot of toing and froing and eventually the socialists sorted it out by deposing their General Secretary, Pedro Sánchez. The day to day management of the socialist party was taken over by a caretaker committee.

We are now in the process of electing a new leader for the socialists. It's taken months and months. There are three candidates, the deposed Pedro Sánchez, an old hand in the party from the Basque Country called Patxi López and the President of Andalucia called Susana Díaz. Andalucia is the strongest stronghold of the socialists. Susana is the hot favourite with the backing of nearly all the party heavyweights. Personally, without much to go on except what I see of her on the telly or hear on the radio, I don't care for her. She seems a bit stern, a bit ready to get snappy for a politician, she doesn't seem to want to talk policy and she seems a bit sure of herself.

We've just had the first stage, the bit where the candidates have to garner enough support from the party faithful to be able to stand. Unless they get a specific percentage of party member's votes they cannot run for party leader - the idea, I suppose, being to stop joke candidates. Susana expected to be miles ahead in these "avales," endorsements, but she was only a few thousand votes in front of Pedro. Patxi was miles behind. What's more Susana picked up most of her votes from her home ground. She was beaten into second in lots of important areas of the country.

Obviously enough the three candidates are travelling around, on the stump, trying to rally support for their campaigns. It struck me that they may be somewhere local where I could go and see them so I put a search clue into Google to check their public appearances. At the top of the appropriate Google page when I searched on Pedro there was his timetable. It was the same for Patxi but the same search clue with only the name changed turned up nothing for Susana Díaz. Indeed having gone through four pages of results I still don't know where she's appearing. There are just news stories, her Twitter account and the Facebook page. Without delving too deeply I also noticed that on her Facebook page quite a few of the comments on show were a bit negative - your campaign is very 1970s, you need to talk specific policy rather than bland platitudes. That sort of thing. On the other hand both the Patxi and Pedro pages seem, with the same cursory look, to be much more positive about them though lots were telling Patxi to throw his lot in with Pedro.

I never back winners at elections, or very rarely, but I think it would cheer me up if Pedro Sánchez were re-elected. I didn't like the way he was shifted to one side for sticking to his principles and maintaining that socialist voters would not want to be the means by which a conservative government was put in power.

Right, whilst I'm thinking politics good luck to Macron and I'd better have a look at some of the UK websites to see who my choices are in the UK General Election. I've just realised that, presuming the Liberals or LibDems still exist, I don't even know the name of their party leader. I do know the other two. Not that it matters, I vote in Huntingdon and we know how we vote there.


ARMS said...

Thanks for this little overview of the Spanish politics. I have difficulty keeping up with it as my Spanish language skills are not sufficient yet - but I'm getting there. As for the uk, well, it must surly be worth tactical voting to keep those disastrous tories out! Though I fear that they have so much clout with the popular media and are able to brainwash the majority of those who bother to vote, that mayhem May, may just get in with a majority.

Chris Thompson said...

I'll have to see if I can do something like Mayhen May with any Spanish politicians!