Palma.—The PSIB Electoral Committee explained that although party members were free to request primary elections for the leadership of the regional socialist party, it is important to remember that the PSIB is part of Spain's wider Socialist Federation which already has very clear leadership participation rules for its top positions. Any alterations to this system of party selection can only be altered at a congressional meeting of the Socialist federation.

A spokesman said that no names which members put forward for a list of candidates will be vetoed, but there will be no “primary elections” prior to the country's general elections which are scheduled for 20th November. The statement by the Electoral Committee has come in response to a petition launched by dozens of militants on social networking websites to get signatures to demand primary elections. Historically significant party members such as Emilio Alonso and Josep Lluis Madico are backing the militants.

Francina Armengol, the ex President of the Council of Majorca and a possible candidate for the leadership of the Balearic Socialists after ex regional President Francesc Antich departs to take up a position in the Senate, met yesterday with representatives of those who were keen to have primary elections. “They want to have an open debate with as many of the grass roots members participating as possible,” said Armengol in her role as mediator.

But she said that any real contest for the PSIB leadership would have to wait until after the general elections after the national Socialist party (PSOE) had put its own house in order and a decision had been made whether present Interior Minister Perez Rubalcaba was going to replace Jose Luís Rodriguez Zapatero as the PSOE General Secretary.

The PSIB Electoral Committee said that it is likely that Rubalcaba will be coming to Palma, probably mid-September, prior to a key PSOE conference.