Rubalcaba emerges from key party meeting with “unanimous support”

Socialist leader says he feels he has the full backing of his colleagues

Under-fire Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba on Monday emerged from a federal executive committee meeting of his opposition group, saying he felt he had the full backing of his colleagues.

Rubalcaba won a four-year term as party leader at a PSOE convention earlier this year. “I feel unanimously supported. I am going to fulfill the mandate of the federal convention,” Rubalcaba told reporters.

Monday’s meeting was held after the Socialists’ dismal showing at regional elections held this month in Galicia and the Basque Country. It also came after party baron José Antonio Griñán, the premier of Socialist bedrock Andalusia, waxed ambiguous in his support for Rubalcaba. Griñán emerged as chairman of the party at the convention, in which the Andalusian chapter of the party voted for Rubalcaba’s rival for the leadership, Carme Chacón.

Rubalcaba said during Monday’s meeting that the issue of a possible leadership challenge by Griñán did not emerge. “I believe at one point he even said he felt comfortable where he is within the organization,” Rubalcaba said.

The former interior minister under Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero went on to say that the Andalusian premier had backed him in opposition. “He has been my great supporter. Therefore, I don’t feel in any way uncomfortable with him.”

Rubalcaba also said that Monday’s meeting had not addressed the issue of planned future primaries for the party leadership as the issue was not on the agenda. “The elections are in three years, so there’s time,” he said, adding that the date the federal committee is looking at is 2014.

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