Elections in Madrid
Politics 06/05/2021

Podemos gives itself time to reflect on the future without Iglesias

The executive discreetly tackles the transition to a choral leadership with female faces

3 min
The former leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, yesterday at the party's headquarters

Madrid"I'm leaving everything, eh?", Pablo Iglesias announced to one of his collaborators from his office when the results of the elections in Madrid already reflected that the bet had failed. The decision did not surprise the interlocutor, unlike the decision to leave the second vice-presidency of the Spanish government to fight the regional battle against Isabel Díaz Ayuso. In the upper floors of the Podemos headquarters, where leaders and members of the candidacy were locked in to follow the count, the news spread shortly before the former leader of the purple formation went down to the press room to announce the resignation. Throughout the night there was no spokesperson assessment, which can now be read as a clue as to what ended up happening.

The secrecy with which the election night was lived in Podemos on Tuesday is the same that has been imposed to start discussing the future without Iglesias. In the early afternoon on Wednesday, it emerged that a "brief meeting of the coordinating council was held to deepen the political analysis of the elections in Madrid", but the reflection is carried with discretion. And so it will be for the next few days, say sources of the formation, which emphasize that there is no great urgency to clarify when the relay will occur nor to know who will assume the new leadership. Even so, this Thursday morning there is already a name that sounds strongly: Ione Belarra, Minister of Social Rights. As advanced by IifoLibre and Europa Press has confirmed, Belarra, who replaced Iglesias in the ministry, could also succeed him at the head of Podemos. Be that as it may, the executive will pilot the transition to a new citizens' assembly, which at a first glance of the calendar seems it could be held after the summer.

Ione Belarra promises her position before King Philip VI and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

"The new leadership has to fulfil a promise as a space, which is the feminisation of our political proposal. I am convinced that the faces of our formation will be feminine", stressed the former second vice president of the Spanish executive. The name of Belarra, then, would fit with this statement of Iglesias, and it is also reasonable to think that Irene Montero may have an important role in the new stage. Sources in the organization insist, however, on the fact that they open a few months of a calm internal debate that is needed to define the new direction.

The role of Yolanda Díaz

No Podemos spokesperson has appeared to deepen the analysis of the election results or the organic situation once Iglesias has abandoned the ship. On Tuesday, the candidate made a statement without taking questions, in which he made his assessment of the elections and gave a hint of where the organisation would have to turn. In fact, he had already done so in recent weeks, when he announced that Yolanda Díaz should be the visible face of Unidas Podemos in the coalition government and the party's next candidate in the general elections. One of the unknowns that does seem more urgent is whether the third vice-president will act as the de facto leader of the space during these months of interim, at the very least reinforcing the political profile in the sphere of government. In parallel, other usual voices are those of Pablo Echenique in Parliament and those of Isa Serra and Rafa Mayoral in the party.

As for the Assembly of Madrid, he placed number two, Isa Serra, as the leader of a "powerful" team, although the head of the ranks in 2019 is waiting to know if she is disqualified by the Supreme Court. The name of the lawyer and PAH activist, Alejandra Jacinto, number four on the list, already began to circulate around the headquarters of Podemos once the resignation of Iglesias was known.

The end of Iglesias' hyper-leadership, moreover, opens an opportunity for Podemos to be another actor in a broader space that integrates the confluences that share a group in Parliament. There is already a confederal table with Izquierda Unida and the comuns, of which the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, is one of the visible faces. The sources consulted point out that, indeed, giving more weight to this body and less to the dome of the purple party is one of the elements that are part of the debate. Choral leadership and female faces open up in Podemos without Iglesias.

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