Partido Popular courts PSOE dissenters

Partido Popular tempts PSOE dissenters

EMILIANO GARCIA-PAGE: Opposes Cataluña amnesty but remains loyal to PSOE Photo credit: Emiliano Garcia-Page

THE dust is settling now, but the fact remains that not everybody in the PSOE socialist party wants an amnesty for the Catalan secessionists.

Felipe Gonzalez, the Spanish government’s president between 1982 and 1996 as well as Alfonso Guerra, his vice-president between 1982 and 1991, both belong to the PSOE and have expressed their discontent.

Although they have made waves, these did not rock the party boat too dangerously and the PSOE has received their latest reproaches with a combination of “pity, rejection and indifference” according to Jose Marcos who writes in El Pais, which tends more to the Left than the Right.

Invective had been expected from the old guard’s two most prominent members, Marcos said, after Guerra described acting president Pedro Sanchez as a “dissident” and “disloyal” with Gonzalez’s endorsement.

At one time Felipe Gonzalez-Alfonso Guerra prompted the same word associations as Harold Wilson-George Brown or Tony Blair-Gordon Brown.

Unlike Batman and Robin, partnerships between government leaders and well-known sidekicks, don’t last.  Wilson fell out with George Brown, Blair and Gordon Brown were eventually at loggerheads and the same can be said of Gonzalez and Guerra.

Their estrangement lasted for decades following Guerra’s 1991 resignation after his brother Juan Guerra was embroiled in a corruption and tax evasion scandal.

Gonzalez and Guerra have now settled their differences, united not only by the distaste for a Cataluña amnesty but a perceptible lack of enthusiasm for Pedro Sanchez.

Alberto Nuñez Feijoo might have campaigned against what he calls Sanchismo, a term for Sanchez policies, laws and actions which the PP considers “erroneous and anti-constitutional”,  but it should be remembered that not everyone in the PSOE was a Sanchista.

The incumbent president won the first PSOE primaries, open for the first time to paid-up party members in 2014.  Sanchez won them again in 2017 following a period in the political desert when he was ousted as the party leader and the PSOE appointed a caretaker committee.

It was noticeable that Sanchez’s first government favoured fellow-politicians who had rooted for him when he was a pariah but by the time the time the May 28 municipal and regional elections came round, followed by the July 23 general election, everybody was a Sanchista.

There are always exceptions that prove the rule and Emiliano Garcia-Page, the re-elected president of the Castilla-La Mancha region, is one of them.

Aware that Garcia-Page is opposed to a hypothetical amnesty and referendum , he is one of the socialists that the PP is sounding out in hopes  they will vote for Feijoo’s investiture after the debate to be held on September 27 and 28.

In what Feijoo described as a “routine round of phone calls” to regional presidents, the PP’s presidential candidate spoke to Garcia-Page on September 21.

Castilla-La Mancha sources later emphasised that the regional president  answered “out of courtesy” but made it clear that in future they would discuss only issues of interest for the region that touch on infrastructure, water policies or the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

Speaking later that day to a Cadena SER radio interviewer, Garcia-Page said it was “possible” that those counting on PSOE turncoats to compensate the lack of PP parliamentary seats might find them.

“I’m not saying they won’t, but if they do it won’t be because I’ve sought them or protected them.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at