POLITICS

Podemos leaders seek to put an end to crisis within party

Pablo Iglesias and his number two Íñigo Errejón meet to design strategy to get over the “attack”

Podemos spokesman Íñigo Errejon.
Podemos spokesman Íñigo Errejon.uly martín

Podemos’s number two official Íñigo Errejón has accused the Socialists (PSOE) of orchestrating an “attack” against his party in the middle of the negotiations to form a new Spanish government.

Errejón said he and Iglesias had met to come up with a strategy to limit the damage of the attack

In a message sent to supporters of the emerging leftist group on Wednesday night Errejón made reference to the crisis in the party’s Madrid branch, which has seen 10 regional officials resign this week over a growing confrontation between two separate factions in Podemos: those who back leader Pablo Iglesias – known informally as pablistas – and those who stand behind Errejón – the errejonistas.

“The attack we have experienced today, which appears to be an up-and-running offensive, has some but very few precedents, which reveals that the whole apparatus of the PSOE and those around it is in need of something to cover up its recent turn to the Popular Party dragged along by [Ciudadanos leader Albert] Rivera,” Errejón said after expressing his sadness over the resignations.

After seeing its initial offer to the PSOE to create a leftist coalition rejected, Podemos refused to back party leader Pedro Sánchez’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to become prime minister last week after he teamed up with Rivera’s center-right Ciudadanos.

Now the Podemos leadership believes it is “paying the price” for its political strategy.

The Podemos leadership believes it is “paying the price” for its political strategy

Specifically, Errejón believes that the PSOE is looking to divide Podemos. The resignations in Madrid reflect a dispute over the political control of the party, but he denies such divisions. “Moving a Madrid problem to the state level is obviously a weapon that they want to hurl and expand so as to avoid talking about the PSOE careening towards a grand coalition pulled by the hand of Rivera.”

Conservative Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy – who won the most seats (123) at the inconclusive December 20 election but fell short of a majority (176) – has been looking to form a coalition with the PSOE, which came second with 90 seats, but Sánchez has repeatedly refused his offer.

Errejón said he and Iglesias had met on Wednesday to come up with a strategy to limit the damage and escape from the attack. “We will stop it,” he said.

Calling for party unity, he asked supporters “to repeat again and again that there is only one Podemos.”

English version by Nick Funnell.

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