In a speech sounding a lot like a campaign kickoff for next May’s European Parliamentary race, Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba on Sunday launched an attack on the government’s economic and social policies, suggesting that the Popular Party (PP) had a hidden agenda before coming to power.
Rubalcaba spoke at the close of a convention of the Andalusia Socialist Party, in which members gave regional premier Susana Díaz overwhelming approval to take over the group’s leadership in the southern region. On Saturday, she received 98.6 percent of the votes from the 778 delegates present.
“Our strength is your strength,” Rubalcaba said in Granada, where the convention was held. “The right has turned into a demolition brigade against the welfare state.”
Alluding to the recent findings by the High Court that there is “circumstantial evidence” that the ruling PP ran an undeclared accounting system, as well as the official one it sent to the Court of Auditors, Rubalcaba said that the ruling party also had a parallel election agenda.
“Just as the PP had ‘A’ and a ‘B’ accounting systems, we have also discovered they had an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ platform,” he said, highlighting the education, fiscal and labor reforms being pushed through by the party, none of which were detailed on their electoral platform.
Susana Díaz, who took over as Andalusia regional premier less than two months ago, after José Antonio Griñán stepped down, now controls the largest Socialist regional grouping in the country, with 46,675 members. But it is too early to say whether she will jump into the national spotlight and take a stab at a bigger leadership role.
“From the first day I have said that my commitment is to Andalusia,” the 39-year-old said in an interview with EL PAÍS, when asked whether she could be the Socialists’ next candidate for the national elections. “I have been at the head of the regional government for just under two months, and I am yet to have run in an election.”
Díaz assumed the regional premiership after she was appointed by Griñán, who decided to step down after more than a year in the secretary general’s post.
She supports the idea that the Socialists should hold leadership primaries after the European Parliament elections that will take place in May. “Our energy should be focused on winning those elections first,” she explained.
The federal committee will decide on primaries next month.
In her address on Sunday, she said that the Socialists should demonstrate that “there is a different way of doing things during a young democracy’s difficult moments.”
“I want young people to take charge of Andalusia. I want this region to produce jobs because I believe it has a lot of wealth. And this is what the Socialists should strive to defend, without any complexities.”
Rubalcaba also had words of praise for Griñán, who had been premier up until this year. He said that Griñán had “another manner” of governing and hoped that he will play an active part in the European elections.
Besides Díaz’s election as secretary general, Micaela Navarro will assume the presidency of the party while Juan Cornejo will continue as secretary of organization.
“We are in a moment of crisis in which a PP government is taking everything away,” Navarro said in an interview with EL PAÍS.