Podemos reshuffles leadership after elections debacle

Podemos' new Organization Secretary Alberto Rodríguez (L) with party leader Pablo Iglesias. Photo: EFE / El Diario
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► Pablo Iglesias ignores calls for party congress to decide Podemos future
► Remix comes as party to begin talks with PSOE on possible role in new gov’t

Podemos Secretary General Pablo Iglesias won virtual rubber-stamp approval from the party’s 48-member Consejo Ciudadano governing body on Saturday for a reshuffling of the party executive in response to dismal results in Spain’s recent national, regional, municipal and European parliamentary elections.

Despite calls for a national party congress to review the negative results and redefine the party’s direction, Iglesias chose to present the leadership reshuffle to the Consejo as the only response to the dramatic fall in voter support for its Unidas Podemos electoral coalition with Izquierda Unida in the 28th April general election, a drop in support repeated one month later in concurrent municipal, regional and European parliamentary elections on 26th May.

In the leadership remix, approved by the Consejo with 42 votes in favor and six abstentions, outgoing party Organization Secretary Pedro Echenique has been replaced by Alberto Rodríguez, a federal deputy for Podemos from the Canary Islands who will now occupy the third-ranked post within the Podemos executive team.

Echenique has been moved laterally and will take up negotiations with the Socialist party of President Pedro Sánchez over Podemos’ possible role in the next government. Also part of the reshuffle has been creation of a new post to coordinate Podemos’ local circulos organizations, under the direction of former federal deputy Ana Marcello.

The Podemos leadership remix comes six weeks after the poor performance in the 28th April general election by the Unidas Podemos coalition, which saw its representation in Congress plummet by nearly 40 percent from 69 seats held in the last legislative session to just 42 seats in the current Congress.

One month later, in municipal elections held on 26th May, Unidas Podemos lost hundreds of seats on city and town councils nationwide, while at the autonomous community level the party saw its representation in regional legislatures plummet from 103 seats to just 33 seats in the 12 autonomous communities where elections were held. In the politically important Madrid region, the Unidas Podemos coalition lost 20 of the 27 seats it had held since 2015.

In the European vote, Unidas Podemos won just six seats in the Strasbourg parliament, down from 11 seats held by Podemos and Izquierda Unida together following the last European parliamentary balloting in 2014.

► Read More in Spanish at La Vanguardia, El Diario and Público …

► Click to read more news about Spain’s Podemos political party …

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