• ‘Proceso Adelante’ launches in runup to Podemos Madrid leadership contest
• Former Iglesias partisans join Errejónistas in bid for control of Madrid party
In a move that has potential far-reaching ramifications for anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can), a new political current called Proceso Adelante (literally, ‘Forward Process’) was launched Wednesday within Podemos Madrid, bringing together to the surprise of many political observers both former loyalists of national party leader Pablo Iglesias and notable supporters of Podemos’ number-two leader Íñigo Errejón in what is being seen as a bid by Errejónistas to take back control of the political direction of the party in its Madrid stronghold.
Joining the new group are several key Iglesias allies, including the national party leader’s ex-girlfriend and former Izquierda Unida (IU, United Left) leader in Madrid, Tania Sánchez. The former supporters of Iglesias are said to be disaffected with Iglesias’ sacking in March of Podemos’ number-three leader and Errejón ally Sergio Pascual following the protest resignation of nine Errejónistas from the Madrid party council, plus the sharp turn to the left by Podemos and poor showing in the 26th June national elections by the Unidos Podemos coalition formed by Podemos and Izquierda Unida.
The spokesperson and visible point-person for Proceso Adelante is Rita Maestre, who also serves spokesperson for Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena’s governing Ahora Madrid movement and is considered an ally of Errejón within the party. At a press conference announcing the new group, Maestre said Proceso Adelante will be less ideological, more ‘feminized’ and open to broad currents on the political left — a direction that clearly matches the ‘transversal’ strategy mapped out by Errejón that was virtually abandoned in favour of Iglesias’ preference for Podemos’ turn leftward and the disappointing Unidos Podemos electoral alliance with Izquierda Unida.