An end could be in sight to Spain’s political deadlock after nine months and two inconclusive general elections.
A stand-off between the opposition Socialists and the conservatives – who won most votes but fell short of a majority – has frustrated repeated attempts to form a government.
Pedro Sanchez is adamant his Socialists should continue to express no confidence in acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, hinting he will quit if a meeting of his deeply divided party on Saturday decides to abstain in a future confidence vote, thus letting Rajoy stay in power.
“If there was something important I learned from my parents, it was that I should keep my word and my convictions,” Sanchez said on Friday.
Tipped to replace him if he does go is Susana Diaz, head of the Andalusia region, a Socialist stronghold, who has a track record of reaching cross-party compromises at local level.
She says she opposes a right-wing government, but she is more pragmatic than Sanchez, her supporters insist.
If she were to take the helm, Diaz would not only become the first woman to lead the Socialist party since it was founded 137 years ago, but also to lead any major Spanish political party.
And now could be a good time for the 41-year-old plumber’s daughter to make her move.
On Wednesday, 17 members of the Socialists’ 38-strong executive committee resigned together, in efforts to force Sanchez out and help to ease in a new administration.
Spain's Socialist Party on brink of 'civil war' after half of leadership stages a coup https://t.co/oOcKH2FwRj— AFP news agency (@AFP) 29 septembre 2016
Any such development would be good news for Rajoy. If the stalemate isn’t solved, he and Spain will be facing a possible third general election in December.