Spanish Socialist Workers' Party

Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Partido Socialista Obrero Español
Leader Caretaker committee
(headed by Javier Fernández)
President Vacant
Secretary-General Vacant
Spokesperson in Congress Antonio Hernando
Spokesperson in Senate Vicente Álvarez Areces
Founder Pablo Iglesias Posse
Founded 2 May 1879 (1879-05-02)
Headquarters C/ Ferraz, 70
28008 Madrid, Spain
Newspaper El Socialista
Student wing Campus Joven
Youth wing Socialist Youth of Spain
Trade Union wing General Union of Workers
Membership  (2016) Decrease189,167[1]
Ideology Social democracy[2][3]
Political position Centre-left[2]
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colors      Red
Congress of Deputies
84 / 350
63 / 265
European Parliament
14 / 54
Local Government (2015)
20,823 / 67,611
Regional Parliaments
345 / 1,268
Regional Governments
7 / 19

The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Spanish: Partido Socialista Obrero Español [päɾˈti.ðo̞ so̞.θjäˈlis.tä o̞βɾe̞.ɾo̞ e̞s.päˈɲo̞l]; better known by its initials, PSOE [pe̞ˈso̞.e̞]), is a social-democratic[6] political party in Spain.

PSOE ruled in democratic Spain between 1982 and 1996, and between 2004 and 2011. It is the currently the oldest political party in Spanish history.

The party, under Felipe González, formed a majority government after its victory in the 1982 election and stayed in power until 1993 elections. The party then formed a minority government until 1996. PSOE has had strong ties with the General Union of Workers (UGT), a Spanish trade union. For decades, UGT membership was a requirement for PSOE membership. However, since the 1980s, UGT has frequently criticized the economic policies of PSOE, even calling for a general strike on 14 December 1988.[7]

PSOE was last in power between 2004 and 2011 with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero serving as leader of the government. The PSOE is a member of the Party of European Socialists, Progressive Alliance and the Socialist International.[7] In the European Parliament, PSOE's 14 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sit in the Socialists and Democrats European parliamentary group.


PSOE was founded with the purpose of representing and defending the interests of the working class formed during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. In its beginnings, PSOE's main objective was the defense of worker's rights and the achievement of the ideals of socialism, emerging from contemporary philosophy and Marxist politics, by securing political power for the working class and socialising the means of production in order to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat in the transition to socialist society. The ideology of the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party has evolved throughout the 20th Century according to relevant historical events and the evolution of Spanish society.

In 1979 the party abandoned its definitive Marxist theses at the hands of its then secretary general Felipe González, not before overcoming great tensions and two congresses, the first of which preferred to maintain Marxism. Before this situation, notable internal leaders like Pablo Castellano or Luis Gómez Llorente founded the internal faction of Left Socialists, which included the militants who would not renounce Marxism. This allowed for the consolidation of the leftist forces in PSOE. From this moment, the diverse events both outside and within the party led to projects that resembled those of other European social democratic parties and acceptance of the defence of the market economy.

Currently, PSOE defines itself as "social democratic, center-left and progressive". Concerning the territorial model of the realm, PSOE supports asymmetric federalism.[8] It is grouped with other self-styled socialists, social democrats and labour parties in the Party of European Socialists.

Early history (1879–1974)

Pablo Iglesias founded the party back in 1879.
Casa Labra Pub

PSOE was founded on the 2nd of May, 1879 in the Casa Labra Pub (city of Madrid) by the historical Spanish workers' leader Pablo Iglesias.[7] The first program of the new political party was passed in an assembly of 40 people, on 20 July of that same year. Although PSOE was rather weak during the late 19th century, its active participation in strikes from 1899 to 1902 and especially its electoral coalition with the main Republican parties led in 1910 to the election of Pablo Iglesias as the first Socialist representative in the Spanish Cortes.

The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1923 and 1940.[9]

PSOE formed part of the Spanish Government during the Second Spanish Republic and as part of the Spanish Popular Front, elected to government in February 1936. During the civil war years, PSOE was divided into three wings: a leftist revolutionary Marxist wing, led by Francisco Largo Caballero that advocated dictatorship of the proletariat, nationalization of every industry, and total redistribution of land; a moderate, social-democratic faction, led by Indalecio Prieto; and a reformist one, led by Julian Besteiro.[10]

The dictator Francisco Franco banned PSOE in 1939, and the party was legalized again in 1977. During Franco's rule members of PSOE were persecuted, with many leaders, members and supporters being imprisoned or exiled and even executed.

Modern history (1974–present)

Ferraz 70, PSOE headquarters since 1982

Its 25th Congress was held in Toulouse in August 1972. In 1974 at its 26th Congress in Suresnes, Felipe González was elected Secretary General, replacing Rodolfo Llopis Ferrándiz. González was from the "reform" wing of the party, and his victory signaled a defeat for the historic and veteran wing of the Party. The direction of the party shifted from the exiles to the young people in Spain who hadn't fought the war.[7]

Llopis led a schism to form the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (historic) González showed intentions to move the party away from its Marxist and socialist background, turning PSOE into a social-democratic party, similar to those of the rest of western Europe. In 1977 PSOE became the unofficial opposition leading party with 29.2% of the vote and 118 seats in the Parliament (which until then it had been the Communists, leading more aggressively among a larger representation of underground parties since the last free popular vote during the Civil War on Republican territory) in what was still a pluralistic party election but heading towards a de facto two-party system. Their standing was further boosted in 1978 when the 6 deputies of the Popular Socialist Party agreed to merge with the party.

In their 27th congress in May 1979, González resigned because the party would not abandon its Marxist character. In September of that year, the extraordinary 28th congress was called in which González was re-elected when the party agreed to move away from Marxism. European social-democratic parties supported González's stand, and the Social Democratic Party of Germany granted them money. PSOE party symbol was changed from the anvil with the book to the social-democratic rose in the fist, as used by the French Socialist Party. In the referendum of 1978, PSOE supported the Spanish Constitution, which was approved. In the 1979 Spanish general election PSOE gained 30.5% of the vote and 121 seats, remaining the main opposition party.

1980 PSOE Anti-NATO billboard. While opposing Spanish membership to NATO when they were on opposition, the party changed its posture in government, and supported the "Yes" option on the 1986 NATO membership referendum.

On the 28th of October 1982 Spanish general election, PSOE was victorious, with 48.1% of the vote (10,127,392 total). Felipe González became Prime Minister of Spain on 2 December, a position he held until May 1996.

Though the party had opposed NATO, after reaching the government most party leaders supported keeping Spain inside the organisation. The González administration organised a referendum on the question in 1986, calling for a favourable vote, and won. The administration was criticised for avoiding the official names of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and NATO, using the unofficial Atlantic Alliance terms. A symbol of this U-turn is Javier Solana who campaigned against NATO but ended up years later as its Secretary General.

Felipe González (here with Shimon Peres) was the Spanish Prime Minister from 1982 to 1996.

PSOE Supported the United States in the Gulf War (1991). PSOE won the 1986, 1989 and 1993 general elections. Under the Gonzalez Administration, public expenditure on education, health, and pensions rose in total by 4.1 points of the country's GDP between 1982 and 1992.[11]

Economic crisis and state terrorism (GAL) against the violent separatist group ETA eroded the popularity of Felipe González, and in 1996, PSOE lost the elections to the conservative People's Party (PP). Between 1996 and 2001 PSOE weathered a crisis, with Gonzalez resigning in 1997. PSOE suffered a heavy defeat in 2000 (34.7%). PSOE remained as the ruling party in the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha and Asturias.

In 2000, a new general secretary, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (also known as ZP), was elected, renewing the party. Later, PSOE won the municipal elections of 2003.

PSOE strongly opposed the Iraq War, which was supported by the PP.

On 13 November 2003 PSOE (Socialists' Party of Catalonia, PSC) increased its vote total but scored second in the regional election in Catalonia, after Convergence and Union. After a period of negotiations, the party formed a pact with Republican Left of Catalonia, Initiative for Catalonia Greens and the United and Alternative Left, and governed in Catalonia until 2010.

On 14 March 2004, PSOE won the 2004 Spanish general election with almost 43% of the votes, following the 11-M terrorist (11 March) attacks, and maintained their lead in the elections to the European Parliament.

In 2005, PSOE called for a "Yes" vote on the European Constitution. PSOE also favoured the negotiations between the government and ETA during the 2006 cease-fire, which had a de facto end with the Barajas Airport terrorist attack.

On March 9th, 2008 PSOE won the 2008 general elections again with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero remaining Prime Minister of Spain. The Socialists increased their share of seats in the Congress of Deputies from 164 to 169 after the latest election.

However, after waning popularity throughout their second term, mainly due to their handling of the worsening economic climate in Spain in the aftermath of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, PSOE were defeated in the general elections of November 2011 by the conservative People's Party. Shortly after, an extraordinary congress was held, in which Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, former Deputy to Zapatero and Minister of the Interior, was elected Secretary General defeating Carme Chacón, the other candidate, who stood for the Zapatero platform. This victory caused huge internal divisions and weakened the party's external image.

In 2013, PSOE held a political conference which introduced a completely new platform, widely seen as a move to the left in a desperate attempt to steal votes from parties such as United Left, whose popularity rose steadily due to the general discontent with the two-party system and spending cuts. That platform was the basis for the European Parliament election manifesto, promoted as a solid alternative to the conservative plan for Europe. The expectations inside the party, which chose Elena Valenciano as their election candidate, were really optimistic; however, the social democrats suffered another huge defeat due to the appearance of new parties such as Podemos which managed to gain the support of left-wing voters; PSOE won 14 seats. Shortly thereafter, Rubalcaba resigned as Secretary General and an Extraordinary Congress was convoked. This congress was the first to use a primary election system with three candidates: Pedro Sánchez, Eduardo Madina and José Antonio Pérez-Tapias. Pedro Sánchez was elected with 49 percent of the vote of the affiliates and therefore became Secretary General on 27 July.

In 2015 municipal elections were held, where the PSOE won 25% of the vote, one of its worst results in the history of democracy, together with the fall of the Popular Party, which won 27% of votes, it meant the end of the two-party system in Spain in favor of new parties. The PSOE lost 943 councilors but passes govern 2-7 communities through pacts left.

On 20 December, the general election was held, which produced a parliament broken into four major parties. PSOE, due to the large increase for parties like Podemos (left) and Citizens (center-right), got about 20% of the vote, its worst result since democracy was restored.

Excepting the Andalusian elections 2015, most elections held during the leadership of Sanchez tested negative for the PSOE. Added to this, the policy of pacts conducted by Sanchez after the general elections of 2016, based on the outright refusal to facilitate a government of the Popular party, it was disputed by several leaders of the formación, conceived within the party a critical current with Sanchez, led by Susana Diaz, president of Andalusia.

On September 28, 2016, the Secretary of Federal Policy PSOE, Antonio Pradas, presented at the party headquarters resignation en bloc of 17 members of the Federal Executive for the party to pass to be managed by a management and pressure Pedro Sanchez to resign as secretary general. The Executive, composed of 35 members (originally 38), lost by resignation two executives, who joined at 17 by a total of 19, half plus one of the same. Including the president of the party, Micaela Navarro, the former Minister Carme Chacon or presidents Ximo Puig Valencia and Castilla-La Mancha Emiliano García-Page.

On the afternoon of October 1, 2016, after holding a tense Federal Committee, Pedro Sanchez resigned as party general secretary. That night it was reported that an interim manager would happen, the head of which is the President of the Principality of Asturias Javier Fernández Fernández

Electoral performance

Cortes Generales

Election Leader Votes % # Seats Outcome Notes
Congress Senate
1977 Felipe González 5,371,866 29.32 #2
118 / 350
54 / 207
UCD minority Includes SC
1979 5,469,813 30.40 #2
121 / 350
69 / 208
UCD minority Includes PSC
1982 10,127,392 48.11 #1
202 / 350
134 / 208
PSOE majority Includes PSC and PAD
1986 8,901,718 44.06 #1
184 / 350
124 / 208
PSOE majority Includes PSC
1989 8,115,568 39.60 #1
175 / 350
107 / 208
PSOE minority Includes PSC
1993 9,150,083 38.78 #1
159 / 350
96 / 208
PSOE minority Includes PSC and independents
1996 9,425,678 37.63 #2
141 / 350
81 / 208
PP minority Includes PSC
2000 Joaquín Almunia 7,918,752 34.16 #2
125 / 350
60 / 208
PP majority Includes PSC and PDNI
2004 José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero 11,026,163 42.59 #1
164 / 350
89 / 208
PSOE minority Includes PSC and LV
2008 11,289,335 43.87 #1
169 / 350
96 / 208
PSOE minority Includes PSC
2011 Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba 7,003,511 28.76 #2
110 / 350
54 / 208
PP majority Includes PSC
2015 Pedro Sánchez 5,545,315 22.00 #2
90 / 350
47 / 208
New election Includes PSC and NC
2016 5,443,846 22.63 #2
85 / 350
43 / 208
PP minority Includes PSC and NC

European Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % # Seats Notes
1987 Fernando Morán 7,522,706 39.06 #1
28 / 60
Includes PSC
1989 6,275,552 39.57 #1
27 / 60
Includes PSC
1994 5,719,707 30.79 #2
22 / 64
Includes PSC
1999 Rosa Díez 7,477,823 35.33 #2
24 / 64
Includes PSC, PDNI and independents
2004 Josep Borrell 6,741,112 43.46 #1
25 / 54
Includes PSC and LV
2009 Juan Fernando López Aguilar 6,141,784 38.78 #2
23 / 54
Includes PSC
2014 Elena Valenciano 3,614,232 23.01 #2
14 / 54
Includes PSC


Historical leaders

President Term
1. Pablo Iglesias 1879–1925
2. Julián Besteiro 1925–1932
3. Francisco Largo Caballero 1932–1935
4. Indalecio Prieto 1935–1948
5. Trifón Gómez 1948–1955
Vacant 1955–1964
6. Pascual Tomás 1964–1967
7. Ramón Rubial 1967–1970
In exile 1970–1976
8. Ramón Rubial 1976–1999
9. Manuel Chaves 1999–2012
10. José Antonio Griñán 2012–2014
11. Micaela Navarro 2014–2016
Secretary-General Term
1. Ramón Lamoneda 1936–1944
2. Rodolfo Llopis 1944–1972
In exile 1972–1974
3. Felipe González 1974–1997
4. Joaquín Almunia 1997–2000
5. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero 2000–2012
6. Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba 2012–2014
7. Pedro Sánchez 2014–2016

Notable members

See also


  1. 1 2 PSOE. Ideology: Social democracy. Political Position: Centre-left - European Social Survey
  2. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck". Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  3. Gibbons 1999, p. 48: «This was in line with the PSOE's strongly pro-European policies»
  4. Campoy-Cubillo 2012, p. 163: «The Saharawi cause was embraced not only by the Europeanist PSOE»
  5. The PSOE is described as a social-democratic party by numerous sources:
  6. 1 2 3 4 "History of PSOE" (in Spanish). PSOE own site. Retrieved 11 July 2007.
  7. (Spanish) El líder del PSOE señala que "todos los federalismos son asimétricos" y opta por este modelo porque la Constitución "se quedó un poquito a medias"La Vanguardia
  8. Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 – 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 325
  9. Helen Graham, "The Spanish Socialist Party in Power and the Government of Juan Negrín, 1937-9," European History Quarterly (1988) 18#2 pp 175–206. online
  10. Regimes, Politics, and Markets: Democratization and Economic Change in ... – José María Maravall – Google Books. Retrieved 9 February 2014.


Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Partido Socialista Obrero Español.


    This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/13/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.