06/02/2012 Spain (KMC) - The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) have chosen party veteran Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba as their new leader.
The leadership contest was a close one, with Rubalcaba beating his rival Carme Chacón by a mere 22 votes out of 600.
Mr Rubalcaba is far from being a new face in the party. He led the party into the elections after being appointed by the outgoing Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
He has also been in cabinet from the 1980s, and while serving as interior minister under Zapatero he was given credit for achieving an apparent end to Eta’s terrorist campaign in the Basque Country.
His rival Ms Chacón, was widely tipped for victory, however it is thought that her lack of substance and experience in the end led Rubalcaba to clinch the leadership.
It is widely hoped that Rubalcaba will be able to turn around the fortunes of the party which was stripped of power at national, regional and municipal levels in the recent elections.
The PSOE has been in government 22 years out of 30, but after Zapatero’s handling of the economic crisis the party has fallen out of favour with the Spanish voting public.
It is difficult to predict how the PSOE will now fare under its new leader. The first test of Rubalcaba’s leadership will be the elections to Andalusia’s autonomous parliament on 25 March.
A poll published last Friday showed that the Andalusian PSOE was trailing 12% behind the ruling Partido Popular (PP).