MADRID (AP) — Susana Diaz, the regional president of Andalusia, has launched her bid to become the first woman to lead Spain's Socialist party.
Diaz announced her candidacy for the Socialists' upcoming leadership election at a rally Sunday in Madrid, where she was flanked by former Prime Ministers Felipe Gonzalez and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and other party heavyweights.
Diaz told the packed hall that she plans to "bring back the passion and hope to the Socialists, something that will help us win the next general elections."
Diaz, 42, has been the regional president of Andalusia since 2013. The southern region is one of the few remaining strongholds for a Socialist party that has been in opposition to the conservative government since 2011.
Diaz will go up against former party leader Pedro Sanchez, who was forced out as leader last year, and Basque politician Patxi Lopez at the party congress in June 17-18. Her announcement ended months of speculation that she would run. Founded in 1879, the PSOE has never had a woman as its general secretary.
The outcome of the Socialists' leadership battle could have an immediate impact on Spain's minority government, which depends on support from other parties to pass laws in parliament. Since Sanchez's ousting, the Socialist party has been run by a caretaker committee that has been willing to support some of the conservative government's initiatives.