Errejón’s ‘Más País’ poses threat to Unidas Podemos

Podemos co-founder Íñigo Errejón arrives to founding assembly of new 'Más País' party. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP/El País
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► Party could win 5 to 20 seats in next Congress, will support progressive gov’t
► Election strategy includes alliances with parties in Valencia, Galicia & Aragon

Íñigo Errejón, a co-founder and former leading member of Spain’s left-wing Podemos party, agreed as expected Wednesday evening to lead the national list of candidates for Spain’s newest left-of-centre political party, Más País. The new national party was launched this week over two days of special assemblies by the membership of the progressive Más Madrid movement founded earlier this year by former Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena.

Depending on the party’s yet-to-be confirmed general election strategy, analysts say that Más País could end up with anywhere from five seats to 20 seats in the next session of Congress and help stem a feared high rate of abstention among left-wing voters said to be disillusioned with the two principal parties of the left in Spain, the Socialist party (PSOE) and the Unidas Podemos coalition.


► ► CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO OF ERREJÓN ARRIVING TO MÁS PAÍS ASSEMBLY► ►

At an assembly of the new party in Madrid on Wednesday evening, Errejón accepted Más País nomination and will lead the list of candidates running for a seat in Congress from the Más Madrid bastion in Spain’s capital. In his acceptance speech, Errejón said that he wants the new party to put Spain and its citizens before party politics and pledged that the party would support formation of a progressive government after the 10th November election.

After Madrid regional elections in May, Errejón used his role as leader of Más Madrid in the Madrid regional assembly to support the unsuccessful bid by Socialist party (PSOE) candidate Angel Gabilondo to form a progressive regional government. During the recent unsuccessful negotiations between Unidas Podemos and the PSOE to form a progressive government at the national level, he was openly critical of Podemos co-founder Pablo Iglesias for insisting on a coalition government with ministerial posts for Unidas Podemos leaders, instead of backing the Socialists outright.

In order to form its own parliamentary group and play a prominent role in Congressional debates and decisions, Más País will need to win at least five seats in Congress and at least 5 percent of the national vote or 15 percent of the vote in the provinces from which it wins seats.

To achieve that goal, the party is said to be carefully structuring an election strategy that would see it compete only in 17 of Spain’s 50 provinces — those that have no fewer than seven congressional seats up for grabs. The party will not compete in smaller jurisdictions, according to reports, so as not to split the progressive left vote and allow right-wing parties to win a seat simply because of divisions among left-wing parties.

To compete in all 17 of those provinces, Más País is looking for form election alliances with other regional and smaller parties once allied to, but now currently disillusioned with Unidas Podemos. Earlier this week, Más País received a commitment from the Valencia region’s Compromís coalition to run together in the region’s three provinces; the regional parties Chunta Aragonesista in Aragon and En Marea in Galicia are said to be considering whether to follow suit, as is the national EQUO environmentalist party, currently part of the Unidas Podemos coalition.

By limiting its campaigns to just those 17 select provinces, some analysts say the party may be able to take as many as half of the 36 seats in Congress currently held by Unidas Podemos, plus a few from the Socialist party, hoping in the process to avoid splitting or diminishing the overall left-of-centre vote nationwide.

The end result could be a new ally for the Socialists when it comes to forming a post-election alliance, with Más País more amenable toward supporting the Socialists and a Unidas Podemos coalition much-diminished in power and the ability to demand it be given ministerial seats in exchange for its support in the formation of a new government.

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

► Read More in English at Reuters and The Guardian…

► Click to read more news about Íñigo Errejón & Más País …

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