Spain’s Socialist party is in turmoil in the wake of the political malaise engulfing the country.
Its leader, Pedro Sánchez, claims that he remains in charge, despite an attempted coup on Wednesday which saw more than half the party’s executive committee resign.
Sánchez ignored the call to resign as leader of the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE).
Party members behind the rebellion had hoped that the mass resignation would bring about the dissolution of the executive committee and the resignation of Sánchez.
The deep division in the party revolves around the question of using its 85 seats in parliament to aid the Popular Party (PP) and allow a right-wing coalition government in order to break the country’s electoral gridlock.
Spain has had but a caretaker government in Mariano Rajoy’s PP for the last nine months after two rounds of elections each produced a hung parliament.
Sánchez repeated his intention to call an extraordinary meeting of the party’s 295-member federal committee on Saturday to organise a leadership election in three weeks.
The rump of the executive committee said it expects a leadership vote to be held on 23 October. This date, however, is just eight days before the deadline for forming a new government. If that fails, the King will have to dissolve parliament and call an unprecedented third general election.
Sánchez has refused to help Rajoy return to power, saying that his party is mired in corruption. He would rather forge a deal with the anti-austerity newcomers, Podemos, along with smaller regional parties.
But rival parties have not been able to overcome their differences and Podemos now is also reported to be experiencing uncomfortable internal rifts.
Nevertheless, Podemos is hoping that the very public war in the Socialist party will push Podemos into eclipsing the Socialists to become the dominant force on the left.