Podemos Vistalegre 2 balloting to decide party’s future

Podemos leaders Íñigo Errejón (L) and Pablo Iglesias at Vistalegre I conference in 2014. Photo: RTVE
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• 456,443 Podemos members finish voting all this week on series of measures
• ‘Errejónistas’ vs ‘Pablistas’ leadership battle to be decided in Saturday vote

Nearly half a million activists of Spain’s three-year-old national anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can) are casting ballots this week in a series of rolling votes that will decide the party’s direction and culminate on Saturday with the selection of the party leadership, all part of the Vistalegre 2 second party congress that will take place Saturday and Sunday in Madrid.

A total of 456,443 registered Podemos members began voting on Moonday on documents that will govern the party’s political and organizational future, define its commitment to ethical behavior among the leadership and bases and further clarify its commitment to equality in all facets of the party’s organization and activities.

The big battle has been over two fundamentally different visions for Podemos political and organizational future, with supporters of current party general secretary Pablo Iglesias backing a more centralized leadership structure and militant political stance, while supporters of the party’s second-ranked leader, Íñigo Errejón, call for a more decentralized organization, with term-limits for the general secretary and a less ideologized pitch to the Spanish electorate.

Although attacks and counter-attacks, defections and leadership crises have amrked the campaign over the past several weeks in the run-up to the Vistalegre 2 conference, Errejon is not directly challenging Iglesias in the general secretary ballot on Saturday, with his camp instead preferring to advance its positions via week-long balloting on the organizational and policy matters and through a slate of leadership candidates that if victorious would control the party’s direction and be able to reign in a strong general secretary like Iglesias.

Some observers predict that neither the Errejónistas or Pablistass will achieve a clear leadership mandate in Saturday’s balloting, leading to further maneuvering within a newly defined organizational and ethical framework between two camps with opposing views on the political future of the party.

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

► View the Calendar Countdown for the Podemos Vistalegre 2 Congress …

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