Catalan Socialist leader strengthened in party convention

PSC aspires to become main party in Catalonia and "catapult" Miquel Iceta as best candidate for president in next election

Head of the Catalan Socialists Miquel Iceta speaking at his party's 14th convention (by Gerard Artigas)
Head of the Catalan Socialists Miquel Iceta speaking at his party's 14th convention (by Gerard Artigas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 14, 2019 11:23 AM

A few years ago things were looking bleak for the Catalan Socialists (PSC) and its leader, Miquel Iceta, who was facing a leadership challenge while his party was at odds with the main Socialist party in Spain.

However, PSC celebrates its 14th convention this weekend aspiring to become the main party in Catalonia "the sooner the better," while Iceta will lead the three-day meeting of some 2,000 activists unchallenged for the top spot in the party.

"We want to use these three days to lay the groundwork for PSC to again become the main political force in Catalonia," said party secretary, Salvador Illa, on Friday, who presented the Socialists as the only party to rescue the country from its present "cul de sac." 

Party sources added that another aim of the convention was to "catapult" Iceta as the main candidate in the next Catalan elections leading a party that can provide a viable alternative to the pro-independence coalition currently in government.

Iceta became PSC leader unopposed in 2014, with the party winning 12 seats in the Catalan elections in 2015. After surviving a rocky patch and a leadership challenge the following year, the Catalan Socialists under Iceta increased their number of seats to 17 in 2017. 

A vocal supporter of Spanish Socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez, the acting president returned the favor following the November general election, saying: "In the next Catalan election, I'm sure Catalonia will choose Miquel Iceta as the next president."

In order to make that possible, the Catalan Socialists will be looking to take advantage of the recent fall in support for the unionist Ciutadans party, which is unlikely to see a repeat of its big victory in 2017 that saw it win 36 seats and become the main opposition party.

The Catalan Socialists will also be looking for ways to steal away progressive votes from the left-wing En Comú Podem party, by focusing on such areas as "social justice, feminism, ecology, and dialogue," according to Illa.