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Spain's leftist political coalition is making new gains in the polls ahead of the country's upcoming parliamentary elections. (Photo: Podemos Granada/flickr/cc)

Podemos Rises in Polls Amid Anti-Austerity Fever in Spain

Podemos could unseat the long-established Socialist party for the first time in modern Spanish history

Spain's leftist political coalition, led by the anti-austerity party Podemos, is making new gains in the polls ahead of the country's upcoming parliamentary elections—narrowing the field with the conservative Popular Party (PP), which is only favored to win by a small margin.

There is also speculation the upstart Podemos could unseat the long-established Socialist party (PSOE) to take the runner-up position to the PP for the first time in modern Spanish history.

The predicted result is that no party would get an absolute majority in Parliament, as happened during elections in December that forced a secondary vote scheduled for June 26.

Podemos is now campaigning under the banner Unidos Podemos (Together We Can), a coalition between Podemos and other leftist political groups including United Left and Equo.

One survey released Thursday found that

the vote would be split between four main parties and four smaller ones, confirming a new era of political fragmentation and uncertainty in Spain after four decades of a stable two-party system.

[....] The survey, conducted on May 4-22, showed the Unidos Podemos alliance would grab 25.6 percent of the vote and 88 to 92 parliamentary seats in the 350-strong Spanish lower house, up from the 71 seats won by its members in December.

If Podemos edges out PSOE for second place, the Socialists would have the choice to back either the PP to create a "grand coalition," which Reuters explains would risk alienating much of their leftist base, or become a "junior partner" to Podemos to fuel its continued rise.

According to the BBC, current polls in Spain indicate a repeat of "what happened in Greece, where the new left-wing Syriza party wooed voters away from the traditional Pasok socialists," could be the most likely outcome.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said the party has offered to form a coalition with PSOE after the election.

"We need to agree with them [the PSOE] so that we can have a progressive government," he said.

Podemos this week also unveiled a political campaign platform—in the style of an Ikea catalog—that members hoped would become the "most-read manifesto ever produced."

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