PSOE’s Pedro Sánchez urges return to left wing roots

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RECENTLY re-elected Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) secretary general Pedro Sánchez has said that in the absence of a three-way governing pact with left wing rivals Podemos and the centre-right Ciudadanos (C’s) party, he will seek to form a legislative coalition of parties in Congress to systematically dismantle anti-austerity legislation and other laws passed unilaterally since 2011 by the conservative Partido Popular (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Speaking to a packed auditorium of more than 5,000 rank-and-file PSOE activists, Sánchez closed the Socialists’ 39th party congress with a 45-minute speech in which he pledged to immediately begin conversations with both Podemos and Ciudadanos, though he warned that he’s not optimistic about a governing pact because of the two parties continued refusal to work together to unseat the Rajoy government.

Barring that option, he said, “the PP does not have an absolute majority. We can reverse many of the retrograde laws together…we propose to open a space for negotiation and agreement with the rest of the forces of change in Parliament to dismantle the legislative action of the PP.”

In keeping with the left wing direction of the leadership campaign that returned him to power following him being thrown out in an internal leadership coup last October, Sánchez stressed that the PSOE is the only party on the left of Spain’s political spectrum capable of defeating Rajoy’s PP and called on the party to return to its left wing roots as it moves forward.

In a message directed at the party militants who supported his re-election bid, Sánchez pledged that as long as he remains PSOE secretary general, the party will follow the path urged by the late-Catalan Socialist leader Carme Chacón: “If we say left, we will be left; and if we say change, we will be the change.”

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