Podemos, IU divided over Venezuela vote in Congress

Pablo Iglesias (R) speaks to Alberto Garzon (seated) during Congress session Tuesday. Photo: Fernando Villar/EFE via El País
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• Unidos Podemos vote split for first time since coalition formed one year ago
• PSOE, C’s to back PP resolution calling for Venezuela political prisoners release

Congressional deputies belonging to the Unidos Podemos (United We Can) parliamentary coalition will split their vote for the first time on Thursday, as representatives of Izquierda Unida (IU, United Left) have announced they will vote ‘No’, while Podemos (We Can) has announced its deputies will simply abstain in the scheduled vote on a resolution over the political crisis in Venezuela proposed by the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP).

After weeks of rioting and street battles between the Venezuelan government and opposition forces in the streets of Caracas, the PP’s proposed resolution, which is also supported by the Socialist party (PSOE) and centre-right Ciudadanos, calls for the Venezuelan government to immediately release all political prisoners, to guarantee the separation of powers and respect for the judiciary, and calls for elections under Venezuela’s current legal and constitutional framework.

The proposal has split the left-wing Unidos Podemos coalition vote for the first time since it’s formation exactly one year ago in the run-up to the June 2016 general elections.

As the crisis in Venezuela has worsened in recent weeks, Podemos has continued in its refusal to acknowledge that there are political prisoners in the South American country and has refused to criticize the decision taken by the government of President Nicolás Maduro in March to disband the Venezuelan parliament. Some Podemos deputies are reportedly increasingly uncomfortable with the party’s previous unmitigated support for the Maduro government, prompting the Podemos parliamentary group in Congress to opt for abstention rather than a ‘No’ vote against the PP resolution.

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

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