Podemos leader admits relationship with Socialists has changed

Pablo Iglesias and PSOE chief Pedro Sánchez now need each other’s parties

Francesco Manetto
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias during Thursday’s press conference.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias during Thursday’s press conference.Paco Campos (EFE)

Pablo Iglesias, leader of the anti-austerity party Podemos, admits that his relationship with Spain’s Socialists (PSOE) has changed and could enter a new phase in the coming weeks.

In a press conference on Thursday, Iglesias said he has observed “revealing gestures indicating that the relationship has changed” on the part of PSOE secretary general Pedro Sánchez.

“It is evident that now Pedro Sánchez is calling me, and before this he wasn’t calling me,” said Iglesias.

It is evident that now Pedro Sánchez is calling me, and before this he wasn’t calling me” Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias

The pair spoke on Wednesday and set down the necessary bases for future talks, said Iglesias. Next week, both leaders will seek deals to create Socialist governments in as many municipalities and regions as possible, particularly in those where the PP secured narrow victories at Sunday’s elections.

But the man who became famous for describing both the Socialists and the Popular Party (PP) conservatives as “a caste” of corrupt and self-serving officials who all needed to be ejected from politics, now claims that it is the Socialist Party, not Podemos, that has changed.

Iglesias mentioned recent statements by Socialist senator Emiliano García Page, who said Podemos’s program was “acceptable.” Until recently, the PSOE had been casting Podemos as a group of “populists” with “unrealistic” ideas.

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Now, in the light of the fragmented political scenario that emerged from the municipal and regional elections, it has become clear that the Socialists and Podemos-backed blocs will need one another to gain or keep control over many city councils and regional assemblies.

Even so, Iglesias was at pains to insist that Podemos will not enter into ruling coalitions with the PSOE, except perhaps in Aragón, where both groups ended in a technical tie for votes. Instead, support would come in the way of yes votes at investiture sessions, scheduled for June 13 at the municipal level.

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