REGIONAL ELECTIONS

Susana Díaz: “I will govern alone”

Socialist premier-elect celebrates her new lack of dependency on other parties

Susana Díaz celebrating her victory at Sunday's Andalusian elections.
Susana Díaz celebrating her victory at Sunday's Andalusian elections.CRISTINA QUICLER (AFP)

Susana Díaz, Andalusia’s premier-elect, has pledged to keep her campaign promises following her clear victory in Sunday’s regional elections.

“I’m going to do what I said I would do. I am going to govern alone,” said the Socialist leader in a radio interview with the Cadena SER network. “Now we are the first [political] force, and I have the stability I lacked a few months ago.”

During the previous term, her Socialist Party (PSOE) had been forced to enter into a coalition with the United Left (IU) in order to secure a ruling majority. Both groups had recently fallen out over several issues, making governance difficult in this southern bastion of the Spanish left.

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In late January, Díaz announced early regional elections for March after deciding that the nearly three-year-old governing pact between her party and IU was unsustainable.

“Before this, I couldn’t push anything through that our governing partner did not agree to. Now, only the Popular Party [PP] and Podemos can come up with more seats than the PSOE.”

“We hadn’t had a result like this since 2008. Five years ago we were told we had to change and we understood that well, and we began to defend the interests of Andalusians,” she continued, in reference to national leaders’ decision to overhaul the party in an effort to win back disaffected voters.

Despite her victorious rhetoric, Díaz’s party has fallen short of the 55 seats she needed to secure an absolute majority, and will still need to negotiate with other parties.

“The other forces also have a responsibility, we need to put Andalusia’s interests ahead,” said Díaz.

Izquierda Unida's candidate to the regional premiership, Antonio Maillo, conceded defeat after his group's poor performance at Sunday elections.
Izquierda Unida's candidate to the regional premiership, Antonio Maillo, conceded defeat after his group's poor performance at Sunday elections.José Manuel Vidal (EFE)

The Andalusian premier, who was appointed to the post when her predecessor José Antonio Griñán suddenly stepped down in 2012 amid corruption allegations, said that the good showing by new parties Podemos and Ciudadanos represents “an early warning” and “a lesson for all political forces.”

The newly validated premier said she will have “a capacity for dialogue” with all the political forces in the regional parliament.

But the Podemos representative for Seville, Juan Moreno Yagüe, has already stated that his party will not support Díaz’s investiture because Podemos “represents change, and we will not support more of the same.”

The Socialists have been ruling Andalusia uninterruptedly since 1978. The only time they were not the most voted force in the region was 2012, when they nevertheless managed to govern thanks to a deal with IU.

Meanwhile, Ciudadanos representative Juan Marín did not specify whether his party will give Díaz a vote of confidence.

Asked about rumors that she might be considering a political future beyond Andalusia, Díaz said that she isn’t thinking about it – for the moment.

“My passion and my commitment right now are to my homeland, and I am not considering anything else at all,” she said. “I have no ambition other than Andalusia.”

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