Monday, August 2

Óscar López returns to the front line through the front door after being ousted in the 2017 PSOE battle


Óscar López Águeda (Madrid, 1973) is not just anyone in the PSOE. Neither a stranger in the life of Pedro Sánchez. Know the game like the back of your hand. And much more to the Prime Minister. Both were advisers to the Socialist Group in the European Parliament back in the nineties of the last century. They were inseparable friends and later, simply party companions. Politics sometimes has these things: that it takes what life gives you and then gives it back to you. This is the case of a relationship full of meanders between the Prime Minister and his new chief of staff.

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The current president and CEO of Paradores Nacionales, a position to which Sánchez relegated him after the convulsive socialist primaries of 2017 to remove him from the front line after he promoted the candidacy of Patxi López in that organic process, returns through the front door. Nothing more and nothing less than chief of staff of the Presidency of the Government to replace Iván Redondo.

“Between López and Redondo there is a substantial difference and that is that the former is part of the project while the latter can defend any other, as he demonstrated in his time as an advisor to several leaders of the Spanish right.” The statement, from a veteran leader, has been shared by most of the party leadership for a long time. And once his appointment became known, it was celebrated by the vast majority of the socialist family.

With López, who received the call from the president early on Saturday while he was in Riaza for the weekend, everything will be different because Sánchez’s desire is to raise the political profile of the cabinet and let “the intermediate positions take care of the technocracy “, Say sources monclovitas. “He is a good politician, with a lot of intuition and, also, a prepared guy. Good choice of Sánchez ”, defended another veteran of the PSOE already out of the first line. “An intuitive person, very prepared, with a great capacity for dialogue, tenacious and highly respected in the party,” added another socialist.

López is probably, along with Antonio Hernando, one of the people who knows the Prime Minister the most and best. López was first punished by the manager by removing him from the Senate spokesperson for having remained loyal to Sánchez in the convulsive Federal Committee of October 1, although he moved away from the sanchismo immediately after by not sharing the roadmap that the then ousted former secretary general undertook. But whoever was Secretary of Organization of the PSOE with Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba understood that one can cool or bring personal relationships closer and always be part of the same project.

With resignation he accepted his departure from the front line and a bad word was never heard from him in public or in private from someone who had been his close friend for more than a decade and with whom he shared many personal and political experiences. When Sánchez won the primaries, López told whoever was listening – and there were not many – that the PSOE was opening an absolutely new stage with Sánchez, that the secretary general had a blank book ahead of him and that his first steps were being great successes.

Unlike others who devoted time to nostalgia for the past time was better, the former number three of the PSOE with Rubalcaba took advantage of his forced retirement time to reflect and write ‘From 15-M to you process: the great transformation of Spanish politics’, a must-read essay to understand what happened in our political framework in the last decade.

Without the 2017 primaries, López surely would have been a minister in the first government of Sánchez, who was elected secretary general of the PSOE twice, although his new chief of staff voted for him the first time and not the second and that separated them during years. In the PSOE they knew that, after too much distance and an impeccable job at the head of Paradores, Sánchez had rebuilt some bridge with López and there were those who took his incorporation for sure in the next government crisis. Time heals everything and what is past in the PSOE is past for the Prime Minister who, with this remodeling of his cabinet, is signaling that the “civil war” that the socialists experienced in 2017 has been overcome.



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