Podemos’ rise to power: Not so fast

Daniel Gonzalez - Regular Columnist

Image credits: CyberFrancis

Podemos, the biggest sensation in the Spanish political arena for decades, has been a hot topic of debate in recent weeks. The latest polls put them in a stalemate with PSOE, gaining between 50 and 80 seats in the Parliament if an election was held today. However, other polls cipher it on just 48-50 seats, which certainly makes it a significant force, but not significant enough to rise to power. Is Podemos in a condition to form a government and become an alternative? Absolutely not, it is far from it, its party its too leader-focused, and its cabinet lacks experience and policies. It has been presented as a transversal party, but it is in fact much more hardcore. As the journalist Ramon Luis Balcarce put it: ‘What Podemos is bringing to Spain is the Latin-American populism, they are trying to repeat the same strategy that Hugo Chavez implemented in Venezuela. It is the same tactics of the Sao Paulo Forum and the Medellin Conference, sponsored by Fidel Castro.’

Pablo Iglesias, their leader, is a great communicator, but failed to produce a compelling speech in the Debate with Albert Rivera (Citizens party), Pedro Sanchez (PSOE), and Soraya Saenz de Santamaria (Peoples’ Party). Podemos defends a program which includes a massive growth in taxes of up to 25%. Iglesias has made several mistakes, such as not being able to control the radicals of his party. Iñigo Errejon compared the Civil Police in Spain with the Nazis, and Juan Carlos Monedero claimed Francois Hollande was benefiting from the Paris attacks in Bataclan.

But Iglesias, has another great problem, and its his vision for Spain, or the lack of it. He does not have a conception of the Spanish nation. He has allied himself, with the radical separatist Ada Colau, leader of the platform Barcelona en Comu. As well as justifying independence for the Basque Country. He came to such extremes, as to claiming that ETA´s terrorism, had political justifications: ‘Terrorism has produced great pain, but I would also say, that it has political explanations.’

Pablo Iglesias, is a real master of capitalizing the suffering of the Spanish People, transforming it into votes. The biggest menace for Iglesias is Albert Rivera of the Citizens party, someone with professional and political experience, as well as realist proposals, and with the know-how to carry them out. Podemos, has obtained 69 seats in the Parliament , a pretty impressive result, but still far from enough to have real political power. Can Iglesias form government? Yes, but his party is a ticking bomb, if he cuts a deal with PSOE, his whole message of being against the establishment would be automatically destroyed and he would lose all credibility in the eyes of the electorate, just as the Lib Dems found out when they went into coalition in 2010.

About Daniel Gonzalez 13 Articles

Daniel keeps right up to date on the inner workings of politics in the Spanish-speaking world and around the world. He is one of the first to know and through writing for the Orator, he ensures you are too.