Susana Díaz, who is poised to become Andalusia’s first female premier next week, sent out a message of change on Thursday, telling Socialist sympathizers that she will be “implacable in the fight against corruption, in leading by example and with honesty.”
Díaz, who emerged as the sole candidate ahead of party primaries to select a replacement for the outgoing José Antonio Griñán, will have to work hard to distance herself from the ERE scandal that has eroded the Socialists over the last two years.
Leaders of the opposition Popular Party (PP) have already said that they will do their best to link Díaz to the investigation into the wrongful use of subsidies for struggling companies, a fraud scam worth around 140 million euros that 20 Socialist officials are already facing charges over.
While Díaz was not part of any government team during the period of time when the fraud allegedly took place (2001-2010), Griñán was the economy commissioner and the PP has suggested that he is stepping down halfway through his second term in order to shield his party from further scandal, should he finally be charged with wrongdoing.
It is expected that Díaz will be wary of including in her administration any politician tainted by the ERE case once she officially takes office on September 7.
On the day of his official resignation, last Tuesday, Griñán also used the concept of change liberally, saying that the Socialist Party’s capacity for transformation is the reason why it has been able to rule this southern region for 31 straight years. Díaz is 39, Griñán is 67.