Politics Why Óscar Puente and not Pedro Sánchez: "Only five or six people knew; Feijóo had to be gored"

The decision was made a few days ago

Politics Why Óscar Puente and not Pedro Sánchez: "Only five or six people knew; Feijóo had to be gored"

The decision was made a few days ago. "With enough time for it to turn out well." A decision with the approval of Pedro Sánchez. "It is always the president who decides," his team notes. That Óscar Puente, former mayor of Valladolid, would be the one to respond to Alberto Núñez Feijóo "five or six people knew." "Those who knew can be counted on the fingers of one hand," says a person close to Sánchez. At the early morning meeting of the socialist parliamentary group, deputies were not told who would speak. Hermeticism. Secrecy. "You couldn't tell because it leaked." "A spectacular blow, but one that may also have contraindications," admit socialist sources.

Because the decision that Sánchez avoided the face-to-face meeting with Feijóo and had it carried out by a rank-and-file deputy was a double-edged sword. The socialist leader did intervene in the motion of censure promoted by Vox, and starring Ramón Tamames, who was also known to have no chance. But yesterday they opted for a socialist deputy to do it.

«The tone has also been very internal»; "a speech to motivate the party," say party officials consulted by this newspaper. “For my taste too harsh unnecessarily in some parts,” dissects a socialist baron. Government sources concede that it could have been a "hurtful" intervention, but "because of the crudeness of what he was saying."

«The lack of respect is theirs, for asking for more than a month, for appealing to turncoats... The position has been set by a socialist deputy. We understand that they did not find it very funny," explained Sánchez's team. "It is not institutional discredit, it is tactics," they defend from the socialist engine room. «We are not concerned about the issue of incivility. The important thing is that so many truths have never been told. Óscar has been a snowplow,” say sources from La Moncloa.

«Parliament is Parliament. Or has Feijóo been soft?”, defends a socialist deputy. "We have had deafening anger for years," completes a socialist minister.

But the truth is that Sánchez's decision not to intervene caused confusion, yes, but it also encouraged fear among some members of the party that he would be seen as ugly, discourteous, and contemptuous. «We have messages and calls from socialists who have not been able to govern due to the PP-Vox pacts to congratulate us. “The militancy is euphoric,” they say from Ferraz.

Óscar Puente was a member of the PSOE Executive until 2021 and even a spokesperson, although he only starred in a few press conferences since Ferraz, and the management opted for other people to leave, despite the fact that he continued to hold the position of spokesperson. Originally a Sanchista, he has not hesitated to criticize the management and some decisions of the Government and even gave his opinion on the possibility that in Castilla y León the PSOE would support the Popular Party so that it would not have to depend on Vox.

Puente was the most voted list in Valladolid, where he had governed since 2015, but a pact between PP and Vox prevented him from repeating his mandate. That is the key to his election: dismantling Feijóo's demand that they let him govern because he had the most votes and putting the focus on the PP-Vox agreement.

"With the 'from winner to winner' from Óscar to Feijóo, the debate is over," they say in the PSOE. This is how the socialist strategists explain the reason for their choice and their strategy: «You need someone with poise who knows how to say everything that was said from the platform. With dialectical ability. Oscar is a good fighter. His first intervention was to put Feijóo in his place. We had to put him in his place. Put him in front of the mirror, dismantle his house of cards and gore him. The second intervention was more leisurely, already contrasting.

The truth is that the decision allowed Sánchez to avoid a debate in which to speak out and address the amnesty. Because the amnesty and the transfers to the independentists was one of the levers with which Feijóo began his intervention. «The play is good. "Let's talk about Puente and not about the amnesty," says a territorial leader. «There has been no talk of amnesty. “This went well,” state government sources. "They had called us for an investiture, not to talk about amnesty," they argue from Sánchez's team. "They are not going to give us any lesson about pacts with Puigdemont when they shelter and make pacts, the pacts of shame, with those nostalgic for the 1936 regime," they observe from the socialist leadership.

It was surprising in the ranks of the Government and the PSOE that Feijóo did not want to reply to them. That he would throw away that opportunity. They talk about "strategic error." «He had a speech for Patxi [Lopez] and for Pedro [Sánchez]. Not for a third party. "He discards all the arguments that he has not used nor will be able to use again against the PSOE."