The mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas, endorsed by the federal leadership of the PSOE to compete against Susana Díaz for the general secretariat of the Andalusian socialists, is reluctant to speed up the deadlines to launch into the internal race. The federal leadership wants Espadas to announce after Easter, as it anticipated eldiario.es, his candidacy, but the mayor has already said that he does not want to move until after the summer, according to socialist sources.
Critics of Susana Díaz have spent months trying to agree on the person who should compete with the former president of the Board in the regional congress to be held before the end of the year. Many have been the names that have circulated, but in the end, only Espadas has remained on the table, since Pedro Sánchez does not want to do without his Minister of Finance and Government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero.
This is the preferred by many in Andalusia, although it has, according to what they point out, his 16 years in the Andalusian Government, under the presidencies of Manuel Chaves, José Antonio Griñán and Susana Díaz. The PP, just in case, had already warned that it was preparing dossiers on the minister – “she has a backpack,” say the popular ones – since it was in the Andalusian Government when an aid of 8.3 million euros was approved to the Isofoton company , investigated by the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office.
The problem that arises now with Espadas is that of deadlines. Ferraz intends to launch the internal race as soon as possible, while the mayor, who directs the most populated town hall in the hands of the PSOE, and who has never been characterized by acting in a hurry, ensures that “it does not touch.” The first mayor wants to preserve his institutional role to the maximum and not put at risk the agreements reached both on his left, with Adelante Sevilla, and on his right, with Ciudadanos. Nor does it have a clear relief and one of the risks it runs is that the PSOE loses the City Council and that, in addition, it remains in opposition in the Board. But he also has another fear: he asks for guarantees that, when he takes the step to aspire to the general secretary and primaries are held for the candidate to preside over the Board, that support will be maintained. He does not want surprises.
“Play when you play”
In the same position as the federal leadership are many other critical leaders who are committed to the renewal of the Andalusian PSOE after losing the Junta de Andalucía, after the regional elections of 2018. “Touch when it touches,” a general secretary assured this newspaper provincial, favorable to shake the calendar for what may happen and contrary to the silence of Espadas.
In the environment of electoral turmoil throughout the country, the fear that exists in Andalusian socialist circles is that the president of the Junta, Juan Manuel Moreno, will advance the regional elections, scheduled for the end of 2022. Moreno has just signed an agreement with his partner of Ciudadanos in which he agrees to exhaust the legislature (also not to steal elected positions), but that commitment can blow up if instability is installed in the regional Executive.
“We must accelerate the deadlines for the ‘what ifs,” says an Andalusian regional deputy. Other leaders also believe that it is necessary for Espadas to begin as soon as possible to tour the nearly one thousand local groups of the Andalusian PSOE, a task in which Susana Díaz has been dedicated body and soul for weeks, as she already did when Griñán proposed her to replace him. The same method was applied, that of direct contact with the militants, in the primaries that he lost to Pedro Sánchez.
One of the problems that the Andalusian socialists see in the candidacy of Juan Espadas is precisely his condition as mayor of Seville. “That is a handicap, because, in provinces such as Granada or Malaga, Seville generates a lot of rejection,” says a national leader. Another is that it lacks organic expertise. He was secretary of sectorial environmental policies, but he has never participated in first-level party tasks, in a formation as complex as the Andalusian federation.
Another reason that those who advocate pressing the accelerator allege is that it must save a clearly Andalusian candidacy and disrupt the idea that its election comes from Ferraz. This is something difficult to believe because during these last months critics were almost begging for a signal from the federal leadership to support the chosen one.
The candidacy of Susana Díaz is going to play with this trick, and she will present Espadas as a product of a decision taken “on a stretcher table in Madrid” and not in Andalusia, according to sources close to the secretary general. Although some believe that Díaz will not hold the pull until the end, those who know her assure that there is “zero chance” that she will retire, unless a large majority of provincial general secretaries push her in that direction. Right now that situation does not exist. Díaz already ruled out leaving Andalusia when, after losing the Junta, they tried to go on the European lists and offered him the presidency of the Senate. In Ferraz they dreamed of offering him this position again in the event that they had opted for the president of the Senate, Pilar Llop, as a socialist candidate for the Community of Madrid.