Being the strong man of the party in an autonomous community and, at the same time, unknown to a large part of public opinion may sound contradictory. But the same thing has happened in the PSOE in Madrid to the point that Juan Lobato’s first pre-election spot (Madrid, 1984) focused on pulling irony to turn a defect into an opportunity under the title Neither perry, nor in his town, nor the tattoo And the thing worked for him. So much so that his name is already climbing positions in the polls.

After several failed experiments such as those of the current PSOE International Policy Secretary, Hana Jalloul, for the Assembly, or that of the former national basketball coach, Pepu Hernández, for the capital’s City Council, Lobato reached the PSOE-M general secretary in 2021. In fact, they were less remote-controlled primaries than usual in the party of the fist and the rose. And in them he defeated, with more than 60% support, the mayor of Fuenlabrada, Javier Ayala.

Since then, the former mayor of Soto del Real -State Treasury Technician by training- has been the spokesperson for the PSOE in the Madrid Assembly with the intention of defeating the all-powerful Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP) and bringing his party back to a regional presidency that he has not held since 1995.

If possible, in this 2023. Although the most realistic objective, as recognized in his party, “is to do it in 2027, it is a medium-term project.”

That would be the jackpot. Although, if he does not achieve it, Lobato has more of a shot at consolation: snatching the honorary position of opposition leader from Mónica García (Más Madrid) and that the Socialists lost in the 2021 elections after obtaining with Ángel Gabilondo the worst result of its history in the Community. A paradox since in eight of the ten largest cities in the Community there are socialist mayors.

Defined by the members of his communication team as “hard-working”, “volunteering”, “resolute” and that he “hates hypocrisy”, Lobato is “passionate” about politics who already knows what it is to upset the polls. It was in 2015 when he, at just 31 years old, became the first socialist mayor in 76 years of Soto del Real. A municipality in the north of Madrid where the PP had won the eight previous elections and where he continues to live with his wife and three children, whom he takes every day to school before getting into the car or the Cercanías, “as I see fit better depending on the schedule”.

Lobato does not have on this occasion the 12 years he had to put together a winning candidacy in Soto del Real, but he has dedicated the current express legislature in Madrid to testing different ways of stopping the right in the Community.

First, reaching out to the PP to address general pacts that would exclude Vox from the parliamentary equation. And, after verifying Ayuso’s contempt for her offers, directly confronting her about her roadmap. Even accepting part of her tax proposal against Ferraz’s guidelines.

One of the assets of the PSOE is its “internal democracy” without this implying ceasing to make “self-criticism”, he declared upon his arrival at the regional Chamber in the fall of 2021.

Lobato has also entered the melee which, in practice, has meant that the tone was raised in the plenary sessions of the Madrid Assembly to the point of ordering the abandonment of the chamber of his parliamentary group in protest against the management of the residences carried out by the PP from the regional Executive.

All these tests show that, at least to date, he has enjoyed autonomy to organize together with his trusted team, in which the deputy Marta Bernardo stands out, the strategy to follow to restart a party in which, as he has recognized, In recent times, a certain ability to “modernise” and “adapt to social reality” has been lacking.