MADRID | By JP Marín Arrese | Podemos, the brand-new radical movement, is capitalizing on corruption scandals and crisis side-effects to wreak havoc on traditional parties. The socialists are rapidly losing support while the former communists face utter implosion. Even the centre-right Partido Popular is losing its grip as Podemos promises to lure many of its disenchanted voters. Syriza’s victory is bolstering their chances of snatching a substantial representation in the upcoming regional and local poll and will likely hold a key position for the ensuing power-sharing. Much will depend on how wisely they use their strength to secure their ultimate goal of overhauling the current bi-partisan control in the general election due to take place at the end of the year.
BARCELONA | By Joan Tapia | Last month, I warned about the serious political problem in Spain, which was (and is) focused on the Catalonian crisis and the rise of the new political party Podemos. Both could disrupt the political system and kill off imperfect bipartisanship. Meanwhile, the economy was starting to show some signs of improvement. In November, the perception that the economy is improving while politics are worsening has increased and multiplied. It is difficult to argue with the fact that the economy is going better than last year.
WASHINGTON | By Pablo Pardo | Lefty populism is on the rise in Spain, helped by the financial crisis, and a cascade of scandals that has so far tarnished all the traditional (i.e., pre-existing) parties from the Left and the Right. Podemos, the leftie, Hugo Chávez-inspired party that advocates defaulting on the Spanish debt (to the delight of The Financial Times) could win the elections, according to some polls.
MADRID | By JP Marín Arrese | The radicalism of Podemos (we can) has won widespread popular support in Spain, scoring an astonishing result in the latest European Parliament election. It now runs a bitter neck-and-neck race alongside the two mainstream political parties. Its charismatic leader, Pablo Iglesias, has delivered devastating blows to opponents across the board, mercilessly portraying them as a corrupt “caste” all too eager to preserve their petty privileges, while bending to wealthy establishment’ interests. Yet, in an open bid for power, Podemos has undertaken a sweeping U-turn, transforming itself into a conventional party. Its leader has taken over as General Secretary and immediately launched discussions for setting up an economic manifesto.
BARCELONA | By Joan Tapia | The emergence of the leftwing party Podemos (We Can) and the ghost of a forthcoming political instability weight more on Spanish politics than an unquestionable economic improvement (which is too slow and risky). Anyway the advantage of the conservative Popular Party (PP) in power compared to the Socialist Party (PSOE) was reduced during summer from 8.8 to 3.6 points.
The Corner Analysis | In the grim day in which the French National Front victory broke the expectations of a more united and strong Europe, Spaniards broke the bipartisan establishment for the first time in 35 years. Podemos, born from the Indignados (outraged) movement, was the biggest surprise in the political arena. Voters weary of austerity measures and corruption also punished the political establishment in Greece. Eurosceptics and xenophobe movements dangerously gained strenght in Denmark, Austria, Finland and the UK.