PSOE and PSC aim to stay together despite tension over Rajoy vote
Tensions between the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) over the Spanish investiture will not break their relationship, according to both parties. Seven Catalan Socialist MPs voted last Saturday against Rajoy’s reelection, breaking ranks with the main Spanish party, which abstained, and prompting sanctions against them. However, the PSOE interim leadership expressed on Wednesday its commitment to a “balanced and symmetrical” relation with the Catalan Socialists. The PSC leader, Àngel Ros, stated in similar terms that his party does not plan to change its relationship with the PSOE despite the disciplinary proceedings against the MPs that decided not to abstain. The Catalan Socialist MPs have always argued that they voted ‘no’ to Rajoy “according to their conscience”.
Barcelona (CNA).- The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and its Catalan branch (PSC) will not split and will continue with their relationship, despite the lack of agreement shown during the Spanish investiture debate last Saturday, when 15 Socialist MPs said ‘no’ to Mariano Rajoy’s investiture, among whom were the seven MPs of the PSC. Indeed, the interim leadership expressed this Wednesday its commitment to a “balanced and symmetrical” relationship with the Catalan Socialists. In the same vein, the PSC leader, Àngel Ros, stated that his party does not plan to change its relationship with the PSOE, who announced on Monday that will open disciplinary proceedings against the MPs that broke ranks and decided not to abstain. The head of party discipline of the PSOE, Juan Carlos Sahuquillo, send to the politicians a letter communicating the opening of disciplinary actions that may result in fines ranging between €200 and €600.
Although the PSOE may rethink its relationship with the Catalan Socialists and demand a review of the internal protocol during the Congress that the Spanish Socialists will hold next year, the interim leadership expressed this Wednesday its commitment to a “balanced and symmetrical” relationship with the PSC.
The spokesman of the PSOE interim leadership, Mario Jiménez, denied that the leader of the Andalusian PSOE, Susana Díaz, is promoting a disconnection between the PSOE and the PSC. Díaz is one of the leading politicians that prompted the resignation of the former Socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez, who she always objected to. "She has always defended the need to work together", Jiménez stressed and added that "relations between the two organisations should be balanced, harmonious, reciprocal and symmetrical", despite the lack of agreement shown over the investiture of Mariano Rajoy.
In an interview with the Cope radio station, the politician stressed that the PSOE and the PSC should maintain "a deep and sincere dialogue regarding the framework of instrumental and political relations”. Jiménez believes that the dialogue should be carried out with "tranquillity and without trauma" to restore confidence between the two organisations.
In this vein, the leader of the PSC, Àngel Ros, said on Monday that his party does not plan to change its relationship with the PSOE. "The PSOE cannot do without us, nor us without them", he stated. Furthermore, Ros added that it would be a "major political error" if the PSC was separated from the management bodies of the PSOE. Speaking to Catalunya Radio, Ros insisted that "what is needed now is to sew and add" and noted that the PSC is "essential" for a project of progression throughout Spain.
Tensions escalate due to Spanish investiture debate
Since the PSC, the Catalan branch of the Spanish Socialist Party, announced it was going to say ‘no’ to the investiture of the now re-elected Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, tensions have escalated between PSC and the PSOE. Although the PSOE agreed at its Federal Committee on the 23rd of October to abstain and facilitate the Conservative People’s Party (PP) to form government, 15 MPs of the party, seven of them representatives from the PSC, broke party lines and rejected the investiture of Rajoy last Saturday.
Among those MPs facing disciplinary action are the seven members of the PSC, two representatives from the Balearic Islands, one from Castile and León, four backbenchers and two independents. They all voted against the nomination of Rajoy. Pedro Sánchez, the former leader of the party, did not vote as he resigned as deputy and gave up his seat in the Spanish Parliament just before the final investiture vote.
PSC MPs respond to the disciplinary proceedings through a letter
The MPs facing disciplinary proceedings have now a week to present their defence and the Catalan ones have already explained to Sahuquillo by correspondence that “given the disagreement” between the position of the PSOE Federal Committee and the National Council of the PSC, they decided to act “according to their conscience”.
The seven members of the PSC have responded to the letter from Sahuquillo and in the text they recall that on the 25th of October the National Council of the PSC approved unanimously a resolution to vote against the nomination of the leader of the PP. This resolution, according to Socialist sources, will be the basis of the defence the MPs will present this week.
In the letter, the MPs also point out that they voted ‘no’ and acted “according to their conscience", given the disagreement between PSOE and PSC. Furthermore, they reiterate that all PSC MPs “are firmly committed to continue working with the rest of the Socialists to make stronger” their political project.
The 'no' of the PSC to Rajoy represented the third breach of party voting by the Catalan Socialists in the Spanish Parliament. In 2013 they broke with it twice over two initiatives concerning Catalonia’s right to decide. Then, in addition to the sanctions, the politician José Zaragoza was expelled from the leadership of the Catalan Socialist Party.