• Unidos Podemos leader mixes coquettish accolades, sharp criticism of Rajoy
• Iglesias calls on Socialists to again attempt formation of a leftwing coalition
In a first return to the podium of Spain’s 350-seat Congress Wednesday since his Unidos Podemos coalition lost a million votes in Spain’s 26th June general election, Podemos (We Can) leader Pablo Iglesias spoke against the candidacy of conservative Partido Popular (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy to lead Spain’s next government, mixing sharp criticism of Rajoy’s party and leadership over the past four years with coquettish personal compliments for acting-Prime Minister himself.
Reminding Rajoy and the Congress that the Partido Popular was funded by former ministers of the dictatorial Franco regime, Iglesias slammed Rajoy and his party for “devaluing” the wages of Spanish workers and spurring the exodus of thousands of young Spaniards to seek work abroad, and sharply attacked the conservative leader for following the economic austerity dictates of the EU Central Bank, the IMF and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the expense of Spanish workers and the interest of the country as a whole.
The tone of Iglesias’ speech combined with his fist-pumping solidarity gesture as he left the podium were seen by some political observers as an effort to stake out a strategic position further to the left of the Socialists as Spain moves closer to the possibility of a third general election in December.
Iglesias nevertheless held out an olive branch to Socialist party leader Pedro Sánchez, calling on him to again attempt to form a left-wing coalition government with Unidos Podemos after Rajoy’s investitue fails, despite the fact that their combined 156 Deputies fall far short of the required number of votes without the unlikely support of regional nationalist and secessionist parties.
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