Podemos Madrid leadership battle heats up

Podemos Madrid leaders Rita Maestre, Ramón Espinar & Isabel Serra. Photos: Javi Martínez, S. Enríquez / El Mundo
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• ‘Pablistas’ cut deal with ‘Anticapitalistas’ to block pro-Errejón ‘Adelante’ group
• Errejónistas quickly counter, announcing broader alliance with other factions

In the leadership contest for control of the key Madrid stronghold of Spain’s populist, anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can), the regional leadership slate allied to national party leader Pablo Iglesias veered sharply to the left over the weekend, signing an internal election pact with the party’s far-left Anticapitalistas faction in a move widely interpreted as intended to deal a knock-out blow to the Adelante Podemos slate aligned with the national party’s number-two leader, Íñigo Errejón.

The alliance was sealed over the weekend after negotiations between Podemos Escucha, the Madrid leadership slate allied to Iglesias and led by Podemos Senate spokesman Ramón Espinar, and the Reinicia Podemos slate fielded by the Anticapitalistas faction, led by Podemos Euro-deputy Miguel Urbán and regional Madrid assembly representative Isabel Serra. In a joint statement, the two factions called for a firm, left-wing political direction for the party in the Madrid region that “is not afraid to strike fear into the privileged” and that “does not look to moderation” as a guiding principle.

Adelante Podemos, which promotes a more ideologically diverse direction for Podemos in line with the “transversal” programme laid out for the party by Errejón, wasted no time in countering the alliance formed by its farther-left rivals. On Saturday, the Adelante group announced the fusion of its programme with two other groups within the Madrid party, Anima Podemos and Gente de Podemos to form a broader front that the groups say will enable the Madrid party to face off against the conservative Partido Popular (PP) in general elections in the Madrid region.

► Read More in Spanish at El Mundo, El País and El Economista …

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