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Catalan Socialist leader resigns due to electoral clashes and internal tensions for self-determination

Pere Navarro, First Secretary of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) – which is federated to the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), has finally decided to resign, after many people within the party had asked him for big changes since the last European elections. On the 25th of May, the PSC passed from having 36% of Catalans' votes in the 2009 European elections to 14% of them, dropping  from first to third position as the most voted party. Back then, Navarro refused to resign, despite the Secretary General of the PSOE, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, announcing he was stepping down due to the Socialists' poor results throughout Spain. In parallel, the PSC members openly supporting self-determination – which is totally rejected by the PSOE – announced they were thinking of splitting and forming their own party, after being gradually side-lined by Navarro in the last 2 years. In the last few days, Navarro desperately tried to keep the party united but since he was not succeeding, he faced increasing pressure to step down.

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11 June 2014 09:41 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).-   Pere Navarro, First Secretary of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) – which is federated to the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), has finally decided to resign, after many people within the party had asked him for big changes since the last European elections. On the 25th of May, the PSC passed from having 36% of Catalans' votes in the 2009 European elections to 14% of them, dropping from first to third position as the most voted party. Back then, Navarro refused to resign, despite the Secretary General of the PSOE, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, announcing he was stepping down due to the Socialists' poor results throughout Spain. However, Navarro framed the PSC results within the poor results since 2010 and insisted that his project had to be better explained. In parallel, the PSC members openly supporting self-determination – which is totally rejected by the PSOE – announced they were thinking of splitting and forming their own party. Navarro has desperately tried to keep the party together in the last few days and many internal voices increasingly asked him to step down in order to avoid a scission that could condemn the PSC to become a marginal party in Catalonia. An extraordinary party congress, whose date is still to be decided, will elect Navarro's successor. He was elected in a party congress in December 2011, after another electoral downfall and he represented a Lampedusian change from the previous leadership.


In the last two years, Navarro's team has sided with the PSC with the PSOE's stance regarding Catalonia's self-determination and they have gradually excluded the opposing voices. For instance, despite the PSC run in the November 2012 elections promising to support a "legal" self-determination vote, they have abandoned the Catalan Parliament's initiatives in this sense. This has caused great tensions within the party, as a group of MPs decided to disobey Navarro's instruction and support Catalonia's self-determination. In fact, Navarro has gradually obeyed the instructions from the PSOE's leadership based in Madrid on this issue and members of his team asked those critical to abandon the party. As a consequence, the PSC has been facing a haemorrhage of members and voters abandoning the party.

Stepping down to avoid the scission

In the last few days, Navarro has been trying to avoid the party's scission and has tried to re-integrate the pro-self-determination members within the party structures. However, very few believed in Navarro's promises and capacity to unite the party again. Since municipal elections are to be held in less than one year, many PSC members, particularly outside Greater Barcelona, fear the party will become marginal, while just 5 years ago it was running Catalonia's most important town halls as well as the Catalan Government. The PSC associations from Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, and relevant individual members have been intensely pressuring Navarro to step down as the only way to save the party's unity. This Wednesday afternoon, Pere Navarro announced he was resigning and that an extraordinary party congress would be held to elect his successor.

Navarro states that "nobody" asked him to resign

The First Secretary of the PSC explained in a press conference held in the party headquarters in Barcelona the reasons why he was "abandoning" the leadership. The Socialist politician stated that he took the decision "after talking and listening to many people", although he underlined that "nobody" had asked him to "directly" resign. Navarro explained that he will formally present his resignation in the PSC's National Council, which will be held next Saturday, "because it is the best for the PSC". "I am not here, and I have never been here, for personal interests", he said. "I am [here] to serve the party and Catalan society", he stated. Navarro added that it will the "new leadership's decision" to decide on his continuity as Member of the Catalan Parliament.

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  • Pere Navarro explaining the details of his resignation (by R. Garrido)

  • Pere Navarro explaining the details of his resignation (by R. Garrido)