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POLITICS

Former Defense chief wants Socialist primary to be held “as soon as possible”

Chacón warns that party will not return to power by offering people "more of the same"

Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba has for now ruled out holding an early primary to pick the party’s candidate for prime minister in the next general elections, saying it is still too early. But his comments on Tuesday compelled one of his possible challengers, former Defense Minister Carme Chacón, to demand the party primary be held as soon as possible.

“Today, one year equals decades from the past. Socialism cannot give the impression that in the midst of so much destruction and accelerated suffering that we have all the time in the world because many people do not have it,” Chacón said during a breakfast chat in Zaragoza with Mayor Juan Alberto Belloch.

Belloch himself gave Chacón a plug during his address, referring to her as “the one who will become, could become, and why not become prime minister.” The Socialist mayor added that he saw her succeeding Rubalcaba as party leader.

Chacón backed away from her intended bid to run against Rubalcaba for the position of secretary general of the party during the last primary in May 2011 to keep the Socialists from splitting. It was a bitter blow to many of her supporters, including heavyweights such as Andalusia regional primer José Antonio Griñán and European Parliament lawmaker Juan Fernando López Aguilar.

France and Italy

Rubalcaba, who has promised that the next primary will be open to all party members to cast their votes, said he wants to imitate the political systems of France and Italy where parties hold their primaries when “elections are called.”

The next general elections in Spain will have to be called in three years.

Rubalcaba said the Socialists must “win back the trust” of the people by coming up with three different plans: getting closer to voters who have distanced themselves from the party; drafting an alternative plan for the country that calls for “a process for reflection;” and “working hard” by asking Spaniards what they want from their government.

“We can’t think that we will win the next elections by offering more of the same,” he said.

For her part, Chacón said that while “our country’s destiny” was part dependent on German politics, the Socialists cannot wait for next year’s general elections in Germany to decide what reforms or laws to introduce here in Spain.

She said Spain must look for “relevant formulas” that apply to Spaniards without having to be dictated to by Germany or other nations in the European bloc.

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