The leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, announced on Thursday afternoon that one of the emerging anti-austerity party’s co-founders, Juan Carlos Monedero, had resigned from his leadership roles. The statement was made during a press conference in the Spanish capital to present the party’s candidate for the upcoming Madrid regional elections, José Manuel López.
The resignation of Monedero came just hours after he made highly critical statements about the direction Podemos was taking in an interview on an internet radio station. The political science professor complained that the party was beginning to resemble the political forces it was seeking to replace, and needed to return to its origins.
The political science professor complained the party was resembling the political forces it was seeking to replace
“Podemos is falling into these kinds of problems because it no longer has the time to meet with the small circles [the name with which the party refers to local-level supporters], because it is more important to get one minute of TV airtime or to do something that adds to the collective strategy,” he told internet-based broadcaster Radiocable.
The move by one of the founding members of Podemos represents the first major internal crisis in the emerging political force, which, according to recent opinion polls, is set to gain considerable success in upcoming local, regional and general elections this year.
Iglesias told reporters that he had accepted Monedero’s resignation after a conversation held just minutes before appearing at the press conference. “He has presented his resignation and I have accepted it,” Iglesias said. Monedero has left the leadership of the party at a time “when he has already met his obligations with respect to the creation of the party’s program,” he added.
Monedero himself confirmed the move via his Twitter account. “I have presented my friend Pablo with my resignation from the leadership. My friendship with this great man and my commitment to Podemos remain strong.”
My friendship with the great Pablo Iglesias and my commitment to Podemos remain strong” Juan Carlos Monedero
Iglesias added that he does not agree with Monedero’s views regarding the direction the party is taking, “but that does not mean they are not enormously valuable,” he said. “I also have certain nostalgia for when we did things on a smaller scale.”
Earlier this year, Monedero was involved in a scandal for failing to declare income of €425,000 that he allegedly made from advisory work for the governments of Venezuela and other Latin American nations. Eventually he had to pay the Spanish Tax Agency €200,000 in back taxes and fines.
At the time, Monedero described himself as the victim of “a witch-hunt” and aimed his criticism at Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro, whom he accused of trying to intimidate him with the tax inspection.
He also denied using the money as illegal funding for Podemos.