“We went out to win, we do not give up any city in our country. Not Madrid, not Barcelona, not Valencia... We're going for it all”. Pedro Sánchez called for the general mobilization of the socialist ranks before the crucial battle of the municipal elections in May.
And in the PSOE right now, the debate on the socialist candidacies for some large capitals is open, with great intensity, which could imply a government crisis in the event that Sánchez chooses to present some of his ministers as the best options to try reconquer strongholds that come within easy reach. Among them, socialist sources stand out, Barcelona or Valencia are on the target. Or even take a good bite in Madrid. The organic calendar is pressing, because the federal committee of the PSOE placed the presentation of candidacies for the corresponding primary processes on September 19 and 20.
Sánchez himself is immersed in a tour of large capitals, within the People's Government campaign, with which he seeks not only to defend his management as chief executive, but also to "visualize", according to socialist sources, his commitment to the main cities, and to strengthen the municipal and regional candidates who will contest the elections in May. He started the tour last Saturday in Seville, his next stop will be next Saturday in Toledo and the next he is scheduled to travel to Zaragoza.
In Ferraz they warn that the PSOE won "quite clearly" the 2019 municipal elections in intermediate cities, with more than 50,000 inhabitants. But they admit that they still have "a black hole" in the big capitals. In fact, they only retain Seville, despite the fact that the Socialists are also present in the governments of Barcelona and Valencia, now led by En Comú and Compromís. Madrid or Malaga are in the hands of the PP, and Bilbao in those of the PNV. Sánchez, according to socialist sources, is committed to trying to recover a large city in May, in addition to maintaining all the communities where they govern, as the best way to stop the change in the political cycle throughout Spain that Alberto Núñez Feijóo encourages.
In this scenario, the PSOE is considering the opportunity to present "heavyweights", which includes ministers, to some of these candidates. Everything is speculation and internal pools, because, as everyone knows, the final decision corresponds to Sánchez, "and only he with himself knows what he thinks," they ironically.
But they list several of the options that, they say, "are on the table." In the open internal debate, one of the names that is being considered the most is that of Carolina Darias, Minister of Health, as a possible candidate for mayor of her hometown, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The candidacy for the city of Madrid is also pending resolution, despite the fact that Sánchez himself promoted Mercedes González as a government delegate to give her greater political projection, with an eye on the mayor's office. In the PSOE, the figures of the Ministers of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, or of Industry and Commerce, Reyes Maroto, are considered as alternatives "with more renown". And for Valencia, there was also speculation with the Minister of Science, Diana Morant, although the internal gossips are now betting more on the current deputy mayor, Sandra Gómez.
As for the socialist candidacy for Barcelona, to which the current first deputy mayor, Jaume Collboni, aspires, the option of the Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, lost strength. But an alternative that some socialist sectors are betting on is that of the former Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, leader of the PSC and current head of the opposition in Catalonia.