The former presidents of the Government Felipe González and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero did not manage to have internal control of the PSOE like the one that Pedro Sánchez has had since his re-election in the 2017 primaries and, above all, since the motion of censure against Mariano Rajoy that led him to La Moncloa a year later. Emiliano García-Page, president of Castilla-La Mancha, referred to this hyper-leadership of Sánchez in the party this Wednesday, when he was asked if he will stand for re-election in the regional elections in May 2023. “I have not decided anything. And I speak very frankly. In addition, I am not even the owner of my own decisions in this sense because that has to be decided by the party. It is true that I am the head of the party here… but that no longer means anything in the PSOE. Because there is only one for all of Spain, the rest of us are here as altar boys”. “And it’s not a joke, eh?”, He has continued between the laughter of those attending an informative breakfast in Toledo. “We have achieved the perfect unanimity: that of one”.
“I don’t know, maybe they won’t let me, we would have to ask about the M-30 inwards,” concluded García-Page, one of the only two socialist regional presidents who govern with an absolute majority, in an ironic tone. The other is Guillermo Fernández Vara from Extremadura.
Sources from the federal leadership of the PSOE affirm that the Castilian-La Mancha president “has all the support” of Ferraz, highlighting that Sánchez and he maintain “a very good relationship” and limit their words to the “territorial discourse”. The statutes of the PSOE establish that there are no primaries in the communities that are chaired if there are not 50% of militants who request them. In the leadership of the party they do not contemplate that there may be another alternative candidacy to that of García-Page in 2023.
President of Castilla-La Mancha since 2015, García-Page has stressed that he has “no national ambition” and has claimed his way of doing politics, often going against the official PSOE theses, mainly in relation to the management of the territorial crisis in Catalonia. The culmination of that discrepancy was the granting in 2021 of pardons to the leaders of the process sentenced to prison: “These pardons can be a sentence for the PSOE,” he said then. He has always made an effort to show, in addition, his discomfort at the fact that the Government depends on the parliamentary support of ERC or EH Bildu.
“Many in Madrid insist on saying that I am an atypical socialist and it is a lie: I am a typical socialist, what is atypical is the other”, he insisted. “Many people say to me: but why do you have to say that you don’t like this or that? Well, because it is my obligation. Here there are many people who are going to play the mayorships and many things that are decided affect them for better or worse. I have grown up in a political environment where you can speak and you have to speak and give your opinion, why not?
García-Page won 19 seats in the regional elections of 2019, two above the absolute majority and five more than in 2015. In his first legislature he had formed the first coalition government in a regional administration with Podemos, after the party then led by Pablo Iglesias withdrew his support for the Budgets. In the current legislature Podemos did not achieve representation. The PP fell from 16 to 10 seats and Ciudadanos entered with four deputies. The objective of the socialist leader is to grow by attracting voters from the center of Cs and the PP.
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