Leadership battle for control of Podemos heats up

Podemos leaders Pablo Iglesias (L) and Íñigo Errejón at a recent party conclave. Photo: Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EFE via Público
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• Errejón and Iglesias trade barbs via Twitter over Podemos strategy & tactics
• Leaders’ differences at heart of upcoming regional, local leadership contests

Leaving little doubt that an internal leadership battle for the control of the political direction of anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can) is well underway, top two party leaders Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón fired Twitter messages back and forth Tuesday in an online skirmish over strategy and tactics as the party heads toward internal regional and local leadership elections next month and a party general Congress next year.

The dust-up on Twitter followed a signature fiery speech from Iglesias on the election campaign trail in Galicia, in which the Podemos leader called for a return to a more combative stance by the party and the need to make Spain’s elites tremble with fear, which is what he implied was largely responsible for Podemos’ electoral rise over the past two years.

Errejón responded via Twitter with a barbed message to Iglesias, “The powerful are already afraid of us, that’s not the challenge. What is (a challenge) is seducing the portion of our people who are suffering but who still do not trust us.” The Tweet reflects what is believed to be Errejón’s view that Iglesias’ ideological combativeness hurt the part at the 26th June general election, when it lost nearly a million votes under the banner of Unidos Podemos (United We Can), an electoral alliance with the farther-left Izquierda Unida (IU, United Left) party.

Iglesias responded Tuesday to Errejon with his own thinly veiled barb: “Yes, compañero @ierrejon but in June we seduced 1 million people. By speaking out and being different we will seduce more.”

Errejon, who was in charge of the alliance’s electoral strategy for 26th June, maintains that Podemos needs to adopt a transversal approachgy and reach out to Spaniards of all political stripes who have been hurt by the austerity measures of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) government of acting-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Iglesias disagrees and the two are at odds as to whether or not the loss of the million votes was due to Errejon’s strategy or Iglesias combativeness and the party’s turn to the left in the 26th June campaign.

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

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