2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS

PP ousts ex-military chief who will run for Congress with Podemos

Deputy PM cites “lack of trust” following former chief of the defense staff's decision

Ex-chief of the defense staff Julio Rodríguez is running for Congress with Podemos.
Ex-chief of the defense staff Julio Rodríguez is running for Congress with Podemos.Luis Sevillano

The Spanish government has ousted a former top military official who recently announced plans to run in the general elections with the anti-austerity party Podemos.

Following the Cabinet meeting on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said that ex-chief of the defense staff Julio Rodríguez had violated the duty of neutrality expected of military personnel with statements that he made after news of his decision made headlines on Wednesday.

He is going from the reserves into retirement. He had personally requested it last week. This is not an expulsion”

Citing a “lack of trust,” Sáenz de Santamaría, of the conservative Popular Party (PP), said that the 67-year-old general was in the reserves at the time of his political announcement, and thus still subject to the neutrality rule.

But sources close to Rodríguez said that the military official had already requested going into retirement before Friday’s government decision.

“He is going from the reserves into retirement,” said a source. “He had personally requested it last week. This is not an expulsion.”

More information
What does Podemos want?
Pablo Iglesias: “Catalans, stay with us and let’s all kick out Rajoy together”

On Wednesday, Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias revealed that Rodríguez will be running in second spot on the Zaragoza list to the Spanish Congress.

“It is an honor for us to be joined by Julio Rodríguez, a man who has devoted his life to defending his country, a uniformed citizen and a democrat who has held the highest rank available in the military, and who contributes the solvency, honesty and commitment of a life devoted to others,” said Iglesias on Wednesday.

Spain is holding general elections on December 20. The most recent voting intention polls show the incumbent party winning a narrow majority, with the new challengers Ciudadanos and Podemos eating away at both the PP and the Socialists’ voter base.

English version by Susana Urra.

Rules

More information

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS