Territorial integrity of Spain “not up for debate,” says Socialist leader

Pedro Sánchez rules out Podemos’s demand for a Catalan independence referendum

Monday morning’s PSOE Federal Committee meeting.
Monday morning’s PSOE Federal Committee meeting.Sergio Barrenechea (EFE)

Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez addressed his party on Monday morning, saying that he would “work his fingers to the bone” to try to deal with the demands for a “shift to the left” that Spanish society expressed at the December 20 elections. But, he said, he would not do so “at any price.” At no time will he discuss a referendum in Catalonia with Podemos, he stated.

The speech that Sánchez made on Monday morning to his party’s Federal Committee was by far the most difficult he has faced so far in his 17 months at the head of the left-wing group, given that some of the so-called “party barons” are beginning to question his leadership.

Speaking to his party’s 250-member Federal Committee on Monday, Sánchez was only applauded once

The PSOE did not fare well in last week’s general elections, winning just 90 seats compared to the Popular Party’s 123, the worst result in its history. But no clear winner emerged from the polls, and negotiations are underway this week as Spain’s political parties try to reach an agreement that will see a government formed.

Speaking to his party’s 250-member Federal Committee on Monday, Sánchez was only applauded once when he stated that the PSOE will vote no to the investiture of acting Popular Party (PP) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, “or any other member of the PP,” he stated.

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He also received a long round of applause at the end of his speech from those who wanted to illustrate that Sánchez has the support of members of the Federal Committee, despite a number of members already working to ensure he no longer continues at the head of the party.

“I promise the voters that I will comply with their mandate for change and for the left,” he said. But he reiterated that if left-wing anti-austerity group Podemos continues to insist on an independence referendum for Catalonia, dialogue with that party will be impossible.

“We will not discuss the territorial integrity of Spain,” he said.

English version by Simon Hunter.


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