Rubalcaba to freeze Socialist leadership debate until 2014

Party leader wants to refocus the group´s approach to policies

The leader of the main opposition Socialist Party (PSOE), Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, plans on Saturday to present a calendar of action that puts off any debate on the leadership of the group for the next 18 months.

Barring a major surprise the Socialists' Federal Committee is expected to approve the procedure for electing the party's leader for the 2015 general elections. The proposal is backed by heavyweight federations within the party such as Andalusia.

In the interim, Rubalcaba will prose a body of ideological action that will take the party through to the second half of 2014, when the leadership struggle will be brought back on the table for discussion.

The leadership dispute came increasingly to the fore in the wake of dismal results for the Socialists in 2011's general elections and regional polls last year.

The main opposition to Rubalcaba's plan to delay the contest is expected to come from the secretary general of the Socialists' Madrid federation, Tomás Gómez. Rubalcaba wants the party to hold a series of seminars on issues such as the group's approach to Europe, growth and employment, tax issues and the democratic process. One of the key issues will be moves toward a federal system in Spain.

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