Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"There are Spaniards who cannot wait," Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said Monday. (Photo: Reuters)

For Spain's Podemos, People Take Priority Over Politics

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias wants to push "social emergency" law when parliament reconvenes January 13

Deirdre Fulton

The leader of Spain's left-wing Podemos party on Monday said his priority when parliament reconvenes in early January will be to help the poor—not to hash out internal power struggles among political parties. 

This month's Spanish elections, in which anti-austerity Podemos picked up a surprisingly high 69 seats, "blew apart the cozy arrangement that has existed in Spain since the return to democracy in the late 1970s, which has allowed the right-wing Popular Party (PP) and the leftist Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) to swap power on regular occasions," Alistair Dawber wrote for The Independent on Friday. 

"Thanks to [Podemos leader Pablo] Iglesias, neither party can now govern alone," Dawber explained. "If the two traditional parties can reach an agreement – and that is by no means likely – Podemos will emerge as the main opposition group in Spain. If a grand coalition does not work, there is a good chance Podemos, and Iglesias, will enter government as part of a leftist alliance. Either way, the man has already won, for he has changed Spain for good."

After meeting with acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday, Iglesias appears ready to shake things up even further.

According to Agence France-Presse, Iglesias "refused to talk of forming alliances" after the meeting. 

"Instead," AFP reports, "he said the priority for Podemos when parliament reconvenes on January 13 will be to help the poor by proposing a 'social emergency' law that prevents families from being evicted for not paying their mortgage or ensures pensioners can buy their medicine."

Iglesias accused the Socialists—who say they will form an alliance with Podemos only if the party abandons its support for an independence referendum in the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia—"of being more preoccupied with internal power struggles than with the interests of voters," AFP adds.

He also blasted Socialist party leader Pedro Sánchez, whom he noted "needed 20 minutes to say 'no' to Rajoy. I needed two."

According to The Spain Report, which covers Spanish news in English:

He repeatedly positioned Podemos in contrast to the Popular Party and PSOE as establishment parties: "This is not about talking about power but about the problems of Spain", and added [the center-right, business-friendly] Ciudadanos to the group.

"There is an immovable block of three that repeats old arguments and ignores inequality and corruption."

"We don't share any ideas of what Spain is", said Mr. Iglesias, adding that his conversation with Pedro Sánchez had been "very disappointing".

Weeks of uncertainty lay ahead. As the BBC explains, "next month King Felipe VI will seek to nominate a party leader for government, but that leader must then win a vote of confidence in parliament. If there is deadlock two months after that the king will call a fresh election."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Trump Turns to SCOTUS Over Mar-a-Lago Docs, But 'It Won't Stop DOJ'

"This is a very specific and narrow request by Trump the merits of which turn on a technical jurisdictional question, but which runs into fatal procedural obstacles long before that," said one analyst. "It's not laughable, but only because it's small."

Jessica Corbett ·

Despite Calls for Diplomacy to End War, US Confirms More Weapons Headed to Ukraine

"Are there still negotiation possibilities?" asked Noam Chomsky. "There's only one way to find out. That's to try. If you refuse to try, of course, there's no option, no possibilities."

Brett Wilkins ·

Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut 'Foundational' Digital Rights Law

"Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Report Reveals How Utilities' Climate Pledges Amount to 'Textbook Greenwashing'

Despite the passage of nearly $370 billion in renewable energy funding, the nation's utilities are squandering "a massive opportunity for clean electricity and electrification."

Julia Conley ·

$158,000 Cost for ALS Treatment Called 'A Poster Child' for Unjust Drug Pricing

"The price of the newly approved drug combination Relyvrio to treat ALS," said one critic, "is yet another clear and powerful example of unjustified high prices set by drug companies that ultimately exploit patients."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo