Pablo Iglesias, the head of the electoral slate for the new Podemos party, did not celebrate his unprecedented success in the European elections on Sunday. “We will not stop here,” the 35-year-old political science lecturer told EL PAÍS on Sunday night. “This is not a symbolic result for us. We are going to begin a period of convergence with other political forces. The big parties have suffered the biggest blow, with both [the Socialists (PSOE) and the Popular Party (PP)] taking less than 50 percent of the vote. But we will not have achieved our goal until we beat them.”
Iglesias – whose Podemos party picked up five seats in Sunday’s poll, despite only having registered as a group in March – revealed that he now plans to stand in Spain’s next general election.
His interpretation of Sunday’s results, however, was pessimistic. “We have lost these European elections,” he said. “They have been won by the Popular Party. We cannot be happy about this. There will be more unemployed people and more evictions, and [Angela] Merkel will continue to take measures against the interests of citizens.”
“We were born to go after them all,” he added. “Today, in spite of our results, there will still be six million people out of work and bankers who go unpunished.”
The elections have been won by the PP. We cannot be happy about this. There’ll be more unemployed people and more evictions”
Iglesias was keen to defend the message that he campaigned on, and rejected criticism that his was a populist party. “They can accuse us of defending the people, but they cannot accuse us of having knelt before the European Central Bank,” he said. As for the lack of veteran politicians within Podemos, he responded: “The strange thing here is this aged political caste,” in reference to Spain’s long-established parties and politicians.
Iglesias, who is a regular on political debate shows on Spanish TV, said he would continue to appear on the networks that invite him. “The use of television is too important to stop appearing,” he said. “We are prepared to continue [on TV debates], and our presence will depend on what the media decides now that we have a presence within the European parliament. […] We will now work with other parties from the south of Europe to make it clear that we don’t want to be a German colony.”
He added that the objective of Podemos was to “move forward until we throw the PP and the PSOE out of power, so that we can have a decent government, where no financial power is above the rights of the people. We were born to win, and to go after them all – and we are going to go after them all.”