Sanchez's turnaround gives Unidas Podemos an opportunity to explore unity
Diaz will lay the foundation stone for her new platform this spring
MadridSpain's historic turnaround on the Western Sahara conflict has once again laid bare the usual differences between the two coalition partners. However, for Unidas Podemos it has provided an opportunity to explore once again the lost unity and to heal the wounds opened in the last days after the public clash between second vice-president Yolanda Díaz and Podemos ministers Ione Belarra and Irene Montero as a result of the arms shipment to Ukraine. The distance between the second vice-president and Podemos has been increasing since Pablo Iglesias's departure, whether due to tactical or communicative discrepancies. Aware, however, that the image of division weakens their political space and the coalition government, as well as being beneficial for the right, the two sides have conspired to improve coordination and to avoid airing their dirty laundry in public.
When defending the labour reform championed by Yolanda Diaz, Podemos already adopted a low profile. The strategic divergences had been more or less buried until the clash a few days ago over the shipment of weapons to Ukraine. This was the trigger for the Second Vice-President to decide to look for a mechanism to coordinate the political and communicative action of the members of Unidas Podemos who are part of the Spanish Government. And on Tuesday the second meeting of ministers and secretaries of state of Unidas Podemos was held –they plan to hold them weekly–. The first was two weeks ago, the day after Belarra described those who defend the sending of weapons to Ukraine as "parties of war".
The meeting was used to agree on measures to deal with the economic consequences of the war that they are now negotiating with PSOE. Podemos had made its proposal public on Monday, but the final text was agreed on Tuesday at the meeting with Díaz. The vice president's team points out that they were in agreement with most of Podemos's measures, but will for the time being stick only to the current crisis. Podemos sources confirm the slight differences but celebrate a change of direction in the relationship. The improvement in coordination has been reflected in Unidas's Podemos strong opposition to increasing the Defense budget and also in the rejection of the Pedro Sánchez's turn in relation to the conflict in the Western Sahara.
The "listening process"
In the background of all these differences, the platform that the vice-president wants to promote to run in the next general elections also raises its head. This spring –the exact date is still unknown– Díaz will launch the so-called "listening process", in which she will meet organisations and representatives of civil society throughout the State. The process, said the vice-president on Thursday, will be "versatile", without giving further details. In this first phase, which is expected to last six months, the parties are not expected to intervene and it will be in a second part of this process when negotiations will have to begin and this is where Podemos will come into play, but also Ada Colau's En Comú and probably Más País. Today, despite the fact that relations between Díaz and Podemos have cooled, no one can conceive the platform without the party led by Belarra.