Opposition rejects Susana Díaz as new Andalusian premier in investiture vote

New session to be held on May 14 after Socialists fail to secure support or abstention

The opposition has refused to invest Susana Díaz as Andalusian premier.
The opposition has refused to invest Susana Díaz as Andalusian premier.Jose Manuel Pedrosa / EFE

The entire opposition in the Andalusian parliament on Friday voted against the investiture of Socialist Susana Díaz as the new regional premier.

Ever since Díaz won early elections on March 22, the center-right Popular Party (PP), newcomers Ciudadanos and Podemos, and even the Socialists’ previous coalition partner, United Left (IU), have all expressed firm rejection to her appointment.

After the investiture session at the regional assembly yielded 62 negative votes against the Socialists’ 47 in favor, the Andalusian legislature will move to a new vote on May 14.

Díaz took office in 2013 after former premier José Antonio Griñán resigned in the middle of the ERE subsidy scandal. She called early elections in January of this year after her party’s coalition with IU broke down.

The rest of the country will hold municipal and regional elections on May 24. The Socialists contend that the opposition is vetoing Díaz based on their own electoral interests. Most particularly, Podemos and Ciudadanos are selling themselves as anti-corruption parties and are not keen to be seen entering into deals with a party hit by the ERE layoff fund scandal.

On Thursday, Díaz insisted that parties should not put their electoral interests ahead of those of Andalusia, and asked the opposition to allow the party with the majority of votes to govern.

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The Socialist Party has been ruling Andalusia uninterruptedly for three decades. At the last elections of 2012, it for the first time failed to be the most-voted party, coming in second to the PP, but a coalition with IU enabled it to remain in power. This agreement eventually broke down as a result of recurring disagreements over issues such as subsidized housing and basic income levels for low earners.

“Still a lot to talk about”

The PP’s leader in Andalusia, Juan Manuel Moreno, warned that there was “still a lot to talk about” following this week’s decision to open bipartisan negotiations.

Meanwhile, Ciudadanos has noted that it offered to support the Socialists as long as they complied with its demands, which included getting former PSOE Andalusian premier Manuel Chaves – who is also involved in the ERE scandal – to give up his congressional seat.

“It was the PSOE that walked away from the table and took a step back from the anti-corruption pact, as everyone has seen,” said Ciudadanos spokesman Juan Marín, who added that he was “open to dialogue 24/7.”

Podemos also said that its conditions must be met if it is to support Díaz, or at least abstain from voting in the next round. “We like the lyrics and the music [of Díaz’s program], but we need to see how it is executed,” said party spokeswoman Teresa Rodríguez. “We don’t do discounts.”

Podemos wants the Andalusian government to pledge not to work with banks that evict poor people from their homes, and also to reduce the number of high-ranking government officials. The Socialists claim that the former demand is illegal and promises to eliminate 10 percent of top positions.

Meanwhile, IU warned that there were still two months left before new elections had to be called, and warned about the possibility of a PP-PSOE deal to reinforce the two-party system.