Category Archives: Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE)

PSOE add pressure on Rajoy over Sarkozy

President Sarkozy’s earlier comments are still causing a headache for the Government which it could do without. This time, the main opposition party, the PSOE are calling on the Partido Popular to reject the French premier’s words and to call him to task.

Soraya Rodríguez, PSOE spokesman in the Congress of Deputies, called on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to defend Spain and its economy on an international level.

Rodríguez has been quick to capitalise on the discomfort that Rajoy and his colleagues must be feeling about Sarkozy’s blunt turn of phrase. Although public ally they contain to insist the French president means to draw comparisons with the poor economic policies of the previous socialist government, in private many will be wondering why their Conservative cousins and allies in the European Parliament have chosen this difficult time to knock the Spanish economy even further. Many will also be asking why Sarkozy did not chose to air his views on the failure of the previous government ahead of the last election.

El Mundo opinion poll shows PP on course for massive victory

Another great in-depth poll comes to us today courtesy of El Mundo and Sigma Dos. With exactly one week to go before polling day, it will make grim reading for the Socialists and give a confidence boost to the PP.

The full findings are behind a paywall (here), but the main points are as follows:

  • After last week’s televised presidential debate between the Partido Popular’s Mariano Rajoy and the PSOE’s Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the PP has extended its lead to 17.8 points. (PP – 47.6% , PSOE – 29.8%)
  • The Partido Popular is on course to win 198 seats (currently 154) while the PSOE will fall to 112 (currently 169).
  • The PP will top the polls in every single Autonomous Community, except for Catalonia(where the PSC will come first) and Navarre(where the PNV will come first).
  • When asked to rank party leaders participants placed Rajoy first while Rubalcaba came third behind UPyD’s Rosa Díez.

If these predictions come true Rajoy will be very close to the record number of deputies for one party achieved at an election (202 deputies in 1982 by Felipe González’s PSOE). Conversely, the Socialists will suffer their worst defeat ever – worse even than the 125 seats they gained under Joaquín Almunia in 2000.

Spain’s political parties attempt to harness internet as electoral tool

Ever since the Obama campaign ignited America thanks to its creative use of social networks and the internet, European political parties have tried to ape the success in their own general elections. The UK’s last general election in 2010 was billed as the “Internet Election”, but the effect of the internet turned out to be a bit of a damp squib compared to expectations, and in comparison to the 2008 US Presidential elections.

And now, with their own general election just ten weeks away,Spain’s main parties are looking to extract maximum advantage from the World Wide Web. Yesterday, PP spokesman Esteban Gonzalez Pons, revealed that his leader and presidential candidate Mariano Rajoy was fully prepared for a “Twitter debate” with the PSOE candidate, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.

And this morning the PSOE themselves have launched their own internet initiative, launching a special web portal for people to communicate their “ideas, opinions, solutions and proposals”. This virtual political conference will be running from 30th September to 2nd October, and can be accessed here.

However, the political parties’ internet presence is on the whole pathetic, compared to other Western democracies. All the main parties have decent websites and tick the boxes with their Twitter pages, Facebook accounts etc, but their efforts so far have been, frankly, unimaginative.

In addition, very few elected politicians have their own personal website or blog, and there are few internet debating sites of any renown outside of those provided by the main stream media.

So although these initiatives are welcome in part of the much-needed process of bringing citizens closer to their politicians in Spain, it would be safe to assume that the internet is not going to change the course of the election in any significant way.

The first party that truly cracks the problem of engaging effectively with voters online will be set to reap the benefits

PSOE failing to emit confidence as polls point to defeat

The PSOE seems to be suffering a self-confidence crisis. As all the polls point to a huge victory for the conservative Partido Popular in November’s General Election, the Socialists are bracing themselves for heavy losses – with only die-hard loyalists such as José Bono trying to keep the flame of hope alive.

Newspaper ABC reports today that PSOE sources are expecting to lose as many as 15 of their 36 seats in Andalusia- traditional socialist heartland.

According to the paper, the party leadership is so concerned about the effects of a possible electoral bloodbath in Andalusia ahead of next year’s regional elections in the region that their presidential candidate, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, is making repeated journeys to the area to try and prevent haemorrhage.

Rubalcaba himself has done little to stem the feeling of despondency in his camp today. When asked about what he will do in the event that his party loses the General Election, he did not dismiss the question as hypothetical as politicians so usually do, but rather said that he would make a decision about his future “on the night” of the election.

The PSOE will need to rediscover self-belief, and start emitting confidence – if they do not to see a landslide PP victory in November.

Blanco: The polls are wrong, the people prefer Rubalcaba

Some will view it as an ostrich-head-in-sand moment. Others will view it as a loyalist defending the corner of his embattled party. Either way, the comments of Public Works Minister José Blanco this morning have raised eyebrows.

Blanco has suggested that, even though the polls are unanimous in predicting victory for the PP, he believes they also show that “everybody prefers Rubalcaba as president [over Rajoy], they rate him higher and they believe that he can be the best Prime Minister.”

“For this reason,” he concludes, “I am sure that they will vote for the man they consider to be the best to govern”.

A valiant attempt to steady the socialist nerves, but perhaps he needs reminding that Rajoy was actually rated higher (albeit only just) than Rubalcaba in the latest opinion poll for El País

Chaves and Bono kiss and make up after spat

Readers will be pleased to hear that after their little spat yesterday over whether it is time for the old guard of the PSOE to stand aside for a new generation, Manuel Chaves and José Bono have publically kissed and made-up.

The President of the PSOE and the President of Congress declared themselves to be “great friends” this morning, in a bid to downplay the appearance of rifts at the heart of the socialist party.

“Pepe Bono and I are great friends,” Chaves declared at a breakfast meeting this morning, “and sometimes between friends there are unnecessary tiffs”.

Their row had come after Bono decided not to put himself forward for re-election at the forthcoming general election, preferring to hand over to a new generation of socialist leaders. Chaves, the current President of the PSOE and Vice President of the Government, took offence and seemed to accuse Bono and others of throwing in the towel now that victory seems difficult.

Another one bites the dust – and Chavés has had enough

We noted earlier that serving ministers were jumping ship and not seeking reelection at an alarming rate. As we mentioned before, this emphasises how low morale is in the PSOE camp, and how unlikely victory seems even for those at the very top. It is also a very poor reflection on their belief in their own presidential candidate, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.

Now the announcement of José Bono (left), the President of the Congress, that he will not seek reelection and his suggestion that the old guard of the PSOE should make way for a younger generation has finally made one of Rubalcaba’s loyal lieutenants flip his lid. Manuel Chavés, the current Third Vice President of the Government and President of the PSOE, has hit out at colleagues who are throwing in the towel for an easier life. “It is easy,” he said this afternoon, “to give up when a large hole has opened in the boat.”

“I believe that everyone is needed – including Mr Bono,” he continued. “I am the President of the Socialist Party and I have a responsibility; nobody in my party would understand if I were to give up now”.

Nobody, that is, except Bono…or Salgado…or Sebastián…etc…

PP set to gain absolute majority according to latest poll

Newspaper El País today carries a poll with devastating conclusions for the PSOE. According to their survey, the Partido Popular is well on track to achieve an absolute majority at the General Election, with a whopping 14.1 percentage point lead over the ruling Socialist party.

In a further blow to the PSOE candidate Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, only 37% of Socialist supporters believed he had the right policies to get the country out of the economic mess, and only 19% of the people polled thought he was a leader who inspired confidence.

The poll is not all good news for PP leader Mariano Rajoy (pictured), whose personal popularity ratings were nearly as low as Rubalcaba’s (22%), but he will take comfort from the fact his party is nonetheless on course for a thumping electoral victory in ten weeks’ time.

Rubalcaba lurches left, with a clumsy tax bear-trap

As November’s General Election looms ever closer, the embattled ruling party, the PSOE, have taken a monumental lurch to the left this weekend in an attempt to sure up their base and capitalise on the wave of protests against austerity measures that have been taking place in Spain since the spring.

The Socialist’s presidential candidate, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, has suggested re-imposing the so-called Spanish Wealth Tax (el Impuesto de Patrimonio), which his own Government abolished in 2008.

This tax, which was raised on assets of Spanish residents and non-residents over the value of around €600,000, was first established in 1978 but soon became one of the few such taxes in Western Europe and was eventually abolished by Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero a few years ago.

Now, however, Rubalcaba has decided that this tax should be brought back and that the rich should pay their share for getting Spain out of its economic crisis.  “Isn’t it resonable that those with great wealth pay more?” he asked this weekend.

The reason this has become such a political hot potato over the weekend is that Rubalcaba has seemingly pressurised the outgoing Prime Minister into reintroducing the tax before the general election, rather than making it a simple manifesto commitment of his own.

The reason the Socialists have done this is obvious. It is a tempting and irresistible bear-trap for their political rivals, the Partido Popular. Ideologically of course, the conservative PP is against any direct tax on wealth, and would be inclined to repeal it at once should they win in November. However, if they do so the Socialists will be waiting to immediately label them as a party more concerned with protecting the rich than the poor, of being the party of the haves, rather than the have-nots. It is for this reason, incidentally, that the previous conservative Prime Minister, José María Aznar shied away from abolishing the tax even when the economy was booming.

The trap is obvious. PP leader Mariano Rajoy has been quick to highlight the inadequacies of a tax system which would effectively hit people twice – once when they earn, twice when they save. Such a tax, he argues, is a deterrent to savers, entrepreneurs and ambition – all necessary if the economy is going to recover.

Rubalcaba may think he is being clever, but the facts of the matter are that his own Government repealed this tax because it was ineffective and counter-productive. This desperate lurch to the left smacks of desperation, and highlights how vulnerable the Socialits feel they are ahead of November’s election.


Image Attribution: Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba by www_ukberri_net