Last year, the socialist party (PSOE) leadership ousted Pedro Sánchez as its head when Sánchez refused to allow a minority government of Mariano Rajoy to form. Susana Díaz took over as party head.

Socialist party elections were held yesterday. Sánchez ran again as an outsider and shocked the POSE leadership winning an outright majority of votes in a three-way race. This was a clear smack in the face to the party leadership who backed Susana Díaz.

With Sánchez back at the helm in Parliament, Rajoy has little chance of getting his legislation passed. Rajoy now has his eye on calling snap elections.

The Guardian reports Spanish Socialists Re-Elect Pedro Sánchez to Lead Party.

Pedro Sánchez has regained the leadership of Spain’s bitterly divided socialist party seven months after being ousted in a coup that laid bare the faultlines within the PSOE and left its status as the main opposition party in jeopardy.

On Sunday night, Sánchez took 50% of the vote, sailing past his main rival, Susana Díaz, the president of the PSOE stronghold of Andalusia, who took 40%. The former Basque president Patxi López finished third with 10%.

The PSOE has been in the hands of a caretaker administration since October, when Sánchez stepped down after powerful factions within the party rebelled against his refusal to allow Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s party (PP) to form a government.

Following his resignation, the PSOE abstained from Rajoy’s investiture debate, returning the PP to office and ending the 10-month political stalemate that had left Spain without a government after two inconclusive general elections.

Díaz, who was backed by party heavyweights including former PSOE prime ministers Felipe Gónzalez and José Luis Zapatero, had called for a more pragmatic approach to dealing with the PP.

Snap Elections

Eurointelligence fills in the remaining pieces of the story with commentary on snap elections.

The party will now hold its congress over the weekend of June 18 to renew its executive committee and approve its political platform. The danger for the PSOE is that the party may emerge from the congress divided, or that MPs and regional premiers will actively undermine Sánchez’ leadership.

Sánchez, who was never particularly to the left of the PSOE, rode a wave of members’ discontent about the party’s decision to abstain last October to allow Rajoy to form a government, thus avoiding a third round of elections which would have fallen on Christmas Day. Rajoy has indicated that, if the 2017 budget does not pass the parliament next month, he would call early elections.

Spain is likely headed for a third presidential election, but it’s unclear if the results will be any different than the previous two elections that resulted in blocked governments with no party being able to form a coalition.

The problem with dissolving parliament now is the crisis in Catalonia. The region has threatened to declare independence immediately if the Spanish government does not allow a referendum.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock