Politics 13/11/2021

Díaz, Colau, Oltra and García stage joint act to get a woman elected next Spanish president

The meeting in Valencia, without the Podemos leaders, is the first stone of the left-wing platform they intend to present to the next general elections

Daniel Martín
3 min
The Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz; the vice-president of the Valencian government, Mónica Oltra; the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau; the leader of Más Madrid, Mónica García; and the spokesperson for MDyC in Ceuta, Fàtima Hamed; during the event they took part in at the Olympia Theatre in Valencia

Valencia"President, president!" was the cry with which the public has received Spain's third vice president and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, in the act Other policies held this Saturday in Valencia. She was accompanied by the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the vice president of the Valencian government, Mónica Oltra, the leader of Más Madrid, Mónica García, and the spokeswoman for Ceuta's Movement for Dignity and Citizenship, Fatima Hamed. The aim of all of them is precisely to lift a woman to the Spanish presidency, and no one doubts that Díaz will be the chosen one.

The act was also presented as a first informal stone for the left-wing platform Díaz wants to build for the next general elections. She did not make it a secret: "It is the beginning of something wonderful". And the notable absence of Podemos's leaders – neither the general secretary, Ione Belarra, nor the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, took part in the act – had generated speculation that all sides sought to stop. "All of us here are part of the team, but we are not the full team," Oltra summed up, who on Friday uploaded a photo with Montero to Twitter to show their good understanding. Podemos, in any case, was represented by its main leaders in Valencia: Pilar Lima, Héctor Illueca and Rosa Pérez Garijo. The mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó; MP Gerardo Pisarello, and Podemos's Catalan Parliament spokeswoman Jéssica Albiach also took part.

Tweet of the meeting of Oltra and Irene Montero on Friday

The main message that the five leaders launched has been their desire to promote a "feminist" leadership, embodied at state level by Díaz, as they reminded the public. Díaz was also given more time to intervene and was given centre stage. Monica Garcia was the most direct: "the feminist tsunami will mark the new political cycle". For the time being, Más Madrid and Podemos maintain the political rivalry that began with their respective founders, Íñigo Errejón and Pablo Iglesias, but this is precisely what Díaz now wants to change.

Ada Colau, on the other hand, was more cautios. She called for "removing politics from electioneering". "The challenge is not future elections, but the future of the next generations," she said.

Despite her prominence, Díaz struggled to connect with an audience that demanded clear and short slogans, which Colau and Oltra, more experienced in election campaigns, did offer. Díaz used her usual calm and technical tone. Perhaps not the most suited to a rally full of enthusiastic supporters who were already queuing up ninety minutes before the first speech. The festive atmosphere was interrupted by two noisy demonstrations, one by transport workers and the other by interim civil servants, who very nearly clashed with police.

Hauliers protest at the doors of Olympia Theatre in Valencia, where the event 'Other policies' was held.

On the virtues of the new "feminist politics", Mónica Oltra has highlighted its ability to worry about the "problems that matter to citizens" such as education, health or dependency services" and not whether "[Isabel] Ayuso and [José Luis Martínez] Almeida fight". The opposite of this new discourse would be, according to Díaz, the old politics "of noise and insults", which she has found in the Spanish Parliament, of a virulence that she had not seen "ever before".

New solutions for employment and pensions

The Minister of Employment has also referred to the negotiation of the labour reform and has argued that Spanish democracy has used the same recipes for 42 years and the problems of temporality and precariousness persist. Therefore, it is now time to "try a new path". As with pension reform, she argued that Spain does not have a problem of expenditure but of income: in other words, that taxes must be raised.

Although residually, the concessions intrinsic to coalition governments have also been present in the talk. Oltra, who has already had six years of experience in a three-way government led by the Socialists, chose to focus precisely on the Socialist, which she criticised because "they go as far as they go". However, she has introduced an element of self-criticism: "Also as far as we push them".