Iglesias-backed slate wins Podemos Madrid contest

Ramón Espinar speaking to the news media following victory in Podemos Madrid primaries. Photo: Uly Martín / El País
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• Espinar’s ‘Juntas Podemos’ slate wins 50.27% of vote in high-turnout election
• Teresa Rodríguez wins Andalucia, Podemos Aragon marks distance with PSOE

Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can) announced late-Friday the results of four days of voting in internal primary elections to determine leadership of the local party in Spain’s capital, Madrid, with the slate led by Ramón Espinar and allied with the militant stance of national party leader Pablo Iglesias, winning by a margin of nearly 2,000 votes for 50.27 percent of total 25,469 ballots cast by Podemos Madrid activists.

The runner-up election slate, campaigning on a broader and more-inclusive ideological platform in line with the thinking of the national party’s number-two leader, Íñigo Errejón, won 43.28 percent of the ballots cast in an election marked by a high voter turnout of 54 percent of all registered party activists in the Madrid region. Espinar campaigned in alliance with the far-left Anti-capitalistas faction within the party in favor of Iglesias’ gambit toward a more militant stance for Podemos against the conservative Partido Popular (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, re-elected with the help of the abstention of the Socialist party (PSOE) in Congressional voting at end-October.

The victory for Espinar is being seen as a boost for Iglesias supporters at the national level, where Podemos overall leadership will be contested in a national Congress next year at which the future direction and ideological alignment of the party will also be decided.

In other regional primary elections also decided last week, Podemos Andalucia activists re-elected Teresa Rodríguez of the Anti-capitalistas faction to leader the party in Spain’s southernmost region, while in Aragon the slate led by Podemos national Organisation Secretary Pablo Echenique won the local party election, campaigning on a platform that calls for distancing Podemos from the Socialist party in Aragon, as a result of the PSOE’s abstention enabling the Rajoy government at the national level.

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

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