OPINION
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The mysterious Sánchez

The PSOE should be an alternative to the PP, not an opposition to Podemos

PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez
PSOE leader Pedro SánchezULY MARTIN / EL PAÍS

You know a country is going through strange times when the leader of the second-most voted party spends more time helping the primary party form a government than strategizing to replace it.

But from June 27, the day after Spain’s second inconclusive elections, Socialist Party (PSOE)  leader Pedro Sánchez has dedicated himself to sending Ciudadanos and even PNV and Convergéncia, nationalist parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia, into the arms of the Popular Party (PP)’s Mariano Rajoy.

If the PSOE understood that its role is to provide an alternative to the PP, and not just to block Podemos, it would understand that it’s in its own interests to support a minority PP government

In a political calculation that’s difficult to understand, Pedro Sánchez has decided that the PSOE must avoid at all costs a situation where Ciudadanos, a party with which he not only signed an extensive investiture agreement but which he was also very close to forming a governing coalition with after the first election, would abstain at the investiture vote for Rajoy.

According this to particular logic, even though it would be an insult of epic proportions for the PSOE to abstain at this vote, Ciudadanos has to vote yes and enter into a Rajoy government...thus clearing the way for the PSOE to remain in the opposition.

And the same is happening with PNV and Convergéncia. In spite of evidence that the PNV is a thousand times closer to the PSOE than to the PP; in spite of the “clues,” shall we call them, suggesting that Convergéncia is looking for landing ground in Madrid to escape the continuous blackmail coming from the Catalan Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP); and in spite of the fact that both of these parties despise Podemos, the PSOE is still directing them straight to La Moncloa rather than attempting to win them over to its own side.

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If the PSOE understood that its role is to provide an alternative to the PP, and not just to block Podemos, it would understand that it’s in its own interests to support a minority PP government that wins 137 seats in the investiture run-off thanks to an abstention by a 131-seat block led by PSOE and supported by Ciudadanos, Convergéncia, PNV, and Coalición Canaria - an abstention awarded in exchange for some significant concessions, including a Socialist speaker in Congress. 

But no. Considering what he’s said and done so far, it seems that Sánchez and his team prefer an absolute PP majority controlling the governing board of Congress to a minority Rajoy government that’s subjected to the will of Parliament. It is inexplicable.

 English version by Allison Light.

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