Socialist candidate presents new team to fight Podemos’ leftist alliance

Pedro Sánchez includes a Catalan running mate and a gender-equal prospective cabinet

The Socialist Party introducing the team that will govern if it wins the elections.
The Socialist Party introducing the team that will govern if it wins the elections.Albert Garcia

After a week when all eyes in Spain were trained on the new leftist alliance between the anti-austerity Podemos and the United Left, Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez sought to take back the initiative with the presentation of his new team.

Speaking in Madrid on Saturday, then in Barcelona on Sunday, Sánchez delivered speeches aimed at convincing center-left voters to cast their ballots for the Socialist Party (PSOE) at the repeat general election of June 26.

The Socialist nominee – who made a bid to become prime minister after the first general election on December 20, but failed to attract enough support from other parties – presented a new team that he introduced as “a government of change.”

The PSOE only wins when it’s the PSOE

Socialist candidate Pedro Sánchez

The 20-member team is made up of 10 men and 10 women, including his running mate, the Catalan politician Meritxell Batet. Of these, eight are independents without PSOE membership.

One of these is the Senegalese citizen Luc André Diouf. Another one is the political scientist and columnist Sami Naïr, who would be appointed Refugee Minister.

“The PSOE only wins when it’s the PSOE,” said Sánchez, paraphrasing FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique Martínez, who likes to say that the Barça wins when it’s the Barça.

Sánchez described his team as “gender-equal, inter-generational, progressive, reliable, open to dialogue, hardworking and decent.”

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Sánchez is aware of the risks he is taking by selecting potential ministers who are not part of the party structure, but he resorted to soccer again to state that “the greatest risk of all is not taking any risks,” paraphrasing former Barça coach Josep Guardiola.

Following the inconclusive December election and politicians’ inability to reach governing deals, on May 3 Spanish king Felipe VI announced the dissolution of parliament and a new election for late June. Polls suggest that the outcome will be similarly fragmented, and that the Socialists will now have to fight for center-left voters with the new Unidos Podemos alliance.

English version by Susana Urra.

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