Spain's Socialist Party said Sunday that it is emerging strengthened from its political convention, which was held on the weekend in this capital and where its members agreed to renew their efforts to appeal to voters and to hold open primary elections.

"The PSOE has returned," Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, the leader of Spain's largest opposition party, said in his closing address.

The convention was attended by more than 2,500 people and the party wants to use the gathering to begin to regain the confidence of Spaniards after the decisive defeat it suffered in the 2011 elections, a drubbing from which it is not yet showing any signs of recovering.

The Spanish Socialist Worker's Party, or PSOE, is coming out of the convention "unstoppable, strong, united and with clear ideas," Perez Rubalcaba said.

Perez Rubalcaba's leadership was questioned during the convention, where many important voices within the party demanded that primary elections be held as soon as possible.

The Socialist leader in his speech only mentioned in passing the issue of open primaries, no date for which has been set and about which he emphasized the "enormous exercise of generosity" it will mean to let the non-military citizenry select the future Socialist candidate for prime minister, something - he said - that will mark a "before and an after" for Spanish politics.

In the closing speech before the convention, Perez Rubalcaba appeared surrounded by former premiers Felipe Gonzalez and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and by the presidents of the regions of Andalusia and Asturias, Susana Diaz and Javier Fernandez, respectively.

"We have to defend the future tooth and nail, the future that the right wants to grab," the Socialist leader said, adding that he was convinced that in the 2015 elections Spaniards will throw the center-right Popular Party out of the government for its "compulsive addiction to lying" after promising not to do "what they have done and knowing what they were going to do."

If they win the upcoming general election, the Socialists promised starting Sunday that they will denounce the agreements with the Vatican concerning the contribution to the financing of the Catholic Church, legal matters, teaching and cultural issues, as well as religious attendance in the armed forces." EFE