Podem pulls out of Colau-backed coalition party

Podem leader Albano Dante Fachin in press conference. Photo: Jordi Soteras / El Mundo
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• One week after unity accord, Podemos affiliate pulls out of coalition process
• Podem dissident faction’s entry in coalition leadership elections sparked split

The leadership of Podem, the regional affiliate in Catalonia of three-year-old national anti-austerity party Podemos, has withdrawn the Catalan party from its heralded participation in the new left-wing coalition party in Catalonia, Un País en Comú (One Country in Common) backed by Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, saying the process for leadership elections do not comply with the agreement reached last week among the various coalition parties and movements.

The sudden turnabout was announced by Podem leader Alban Dante Fachin on Wdnesday, following attempts to mediate the dispute by Podemos national leader Pablo Iglesias, who reportedly spent much of Wednesday morning in conversations with Xavier Domènech, leader of the Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona In Common) movement and a close ally of Barcelona mayor Colau.

Last week, Podem announced it had reached agreement to unite to form the new party, which is to be formally debuted on 8th April following a constituent assembly, and is also to include Barcelona en Comú, Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (ICV, Initiative for Catalonia Greens), Esquerra Unida i Alternativa (EUiA, United and Alternative Left) and the Equo environmentalist party.

In the interim, however, a dissident faction with Podem at odds with Fachin separately entered race for seats on the executive council of the new Un País en Comú party. Running on a consensus ticket proposed by Domènech and Colau, the dissident faction led by Jessica Albiach is seen as a direct challenge to Fachin and left the Podem leader faced with the possibility of minority representation from Podem’s own leadership on the new coalition’s executive board.

The Podem pullout from the Un País en Comú coalition is seen as a blow to Podemos’ national leader Iglesias, who has been a close ally of Domènech in Spain’s national Congress of Deputies and has been at odds with Fachin over control of Podemos’ regional Catalan affiliate party.

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

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