Podemos crisis as Bescansa resigns leadership post

Podemos co-founder Carolina Bescansa resigned leadership post Wednesday. Photo: Alberto Rey/Podemos via Wikimedia
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• Podemos co-founder resigns amid leadership crisis between Iglesias, Errejón
• Party’s number-three leader had been trying to broker a compromise solution

The heightening leadership crisis in Spain’s three-year-old anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can) blew up on Wednesday, with the surprise resignation from her third-ranked leadership post in the party of Podemos co-founder Carolina Bescansa, who in recent weeks had been trying to work out a compromise way forward between feuding factions backing party leader Pablo Iglesias and the second-ranked Podemos leader Íñigo Errejón.

Bescansa, who co-founded the party in 2014 along with Iglesias, Errejón and others, and was previously seen as a staunch ally of Iglesias, said Wednesday she will not form part of the leadership going forward and will not stand on the leadership ballot of either of the two groups supporting Iglesias and Errejón at Podemos’ upcoming ‘Vistalegre 2’ party conference.

Bescansa had been trying to broker a compromise deal on points of contention between the two camps regarding centralization verus dispersion of power within Podemos, as well as term-limits and restrctions on executive powers held by the party general secretary, a post currently held by Iglesias. Her initiative to reach a compromise was reportedly seen as a betrayal by those closest to Iglesias and she was dropped from the top positions normally accorded to party leaders on the Iglesias slate in the upcoming leadership contest.

The morning of Bescansa’s resignation, national newspapers carried prominent coverage and photos of Iglesias and Errejón having an open argument the previous day durng a session of Congress, while seated together in the front row of seats accorded the Podemos parliamentary group.

Bescansa’s resignation is seen as marking a clear break with Iglesias, though not necessarily signalling she will join the ranks of Errejón supporters. Also resigning from the Podemos leadership at the same time as Bescansa were the party’s Economy Secretary, Nacho Álvarez, while another top leader, Luis Alegre, has abandoned the Iglesias faction in the ongoing leadership dispute and joined forces with Errejón.

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

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