The Spanish prime minister takes over as head of the Socialist International

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was appointed leader of the Socialist International (SI) on Friday as the centre-left party movement gathered for a three-day congress in Madrid.

The telegenic 50-year-old takes over from former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou as leader of the SI, a movement that brings together 132 political parties from around the world.

There was no vote for the appointment as Sanchez – who has led the Spanish Socialist Party since 2014 – was the only candidate whose nomination was greeted with applause.

Sanchez told delegates he was taking over “with one intention: that this organization become a major ideological platform for the progressive international movement.”

A self-proclaimed feminist whose cabinet is largely made up of women, Sanchez also assured his female colleagues that he would “fight for gender equality” as head of the SI.

The nomination could prove to be a stepping stone for Sanchez to take on an important role on the world stage.

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres headed SI before heading the United Nations Refugee Agency in 2005 and becoming UN Secretary-General in 2017.

Sanchez’s appointment comes a year ahead of Spain’s general elections, which polls say will be difficult to win.

“Although symbolic, this post could be a way (for Sanchez) to win back the reputation of (Spanish) voters by presenting himself as influential on the world stage,” said Pablo Simon, a political scientist at Carlos III University in Madrid. versus AFP week.

“But it could also be that he plans to use that network of international contacts” that the post offers to “later play a prominent role” in a top global body, he added.