Susana Díaz, with José Antonio Griñán, and vice-president Diego Valderas. EFE
Following the resignation of José Antonio Griñán this summer the reins of the Junta de Andalucía have been passed on to his until now second in command, Susana Díaz (Seville, 1974).
After the debate and vote in the Andalusian parliament, in which she received the support of her party, the socialist PSOE, and their coalition partners left-wing Izquierda Unida (IU), Díaz has become the region’s first ever woman president.
In her speech on Wednesday Díaz promised to fight corruption, the main cause of the general public’s rejection of politics - and the main cause of her promotion.
José Antonio Griñán admitted recently that, as well as a need to hand over to new generations, his departure was due to the ERE scandal that has cast a growing shadow over him as many of his former close colleagues are under suspicion.
Díaz described Griñán’s move as “generous”, considering that as yet he has not been formally accused in the case that involves fraud to the tune of 140 million euros.
However she made it clear that her arrival marks a fresh start. She promised to fight corruption “with all my might” and “on all fronts” with “more measures, controls and vigilance”.
Once of the first proposals she will make when she meets with Prime Minister Rajoy, she said, will be for a legal reform to “prohibit private donations to political parties”. Another suggestion, although she admitted not enforceable by law, would be that politicians’ spouses should also make their tax declarations and incomes public.
The new president promised to maintain Griñán’s idea of a government open to the people and promised to allow opposition groups to question and analyse her progress in special parliamentary debates every six months.
Among the people
Díaz wants her government team to be on the streets, not just in their offices, and announced a round of visits to town halls after she officially takes possession of her job thisSaturday.
She said that completing the metro services in Malaga and Granada was one of her priorities, as well as health, education and help for those dependent on others.
On the matter of the economy, the new president avoided referring directly to Andalucía’s devastating unemployment figures (1.5 million, and 60 per cent of young people).
Instead she defended policies that were not subject to austerity to combat the “impoverishment of average working families” and the pessimism of young people.