Spain´s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the left-wing Podemos Unidas group, Pablo Iglesias, has announced his resignation from the government in order to stand for the Presidency of the Madrid regional government.
The surprise announcement to stand in the elections for the Madrid regional assembly on May 4th was made in a video tweet released today, March 15th, and comes a week after the equally surprising announcement of the early elections called by Madrid´s present premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.
The last regional elections in 2019 produced a coalition government of the right-wing Partido Popular and centrish Ciudadanos parties which coupled with the assembly support of far-right Vox party, gave the government a waifer thin majority of 1 in the 132 seat assembly.
However the announcement of elections was met by derision from her Ciudadanos coalition partners and the assembly called for the move to be rescinded amid a failed application to the courts for the elections to be annulled.
Her estwhile Ciudadanos deputy, Ignacio Aguado, said today that her decision was a political “whim”and ” will only bring tension, confrontation and paralysis”.
— PODEMOS (@PODEMOS) March 15, 2021
Iglesias said that he will ‘ put all (his) energy into building a strong and broad left-wing candidacy to prevent the far-right from taking control of our institutions.’
He also added that he seek to speak to Íñigo Errejón, leader of the far-left Más País and who along with Iglesias was one of the original founders of the original Podemos, to patch up their differences in order to create a united front against the right.
Iglesias´s departure from the coalition government of Pedro Sanchez comes amid significant internal division between the two coalition partners of PSOE and Podermos Unidad after 2 years of cohabitation.
More recent national opinion polls show PSOE making advances but Podermos Unidas losing ground.
In Madrid PSOE won the largest share of the vote in the last regional elections in 2019 and it remains to be seen what effect Iglesias´s candidature will have on galvanising a splintered left wing electorate.
However Podermos do have significant residual support, being founded here in 2014 to succeed the anti-austerity and anti corruption 15-M protest groups.
The 2019 election results were:
PSOE: 27.31% PP: 22.23%. Ciudadanos: 19.46% Mas Madrid: 14.69% Vox: 8.88% Podermos: 5.61%