Except for a major surprise, on June 13 the Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, will be appointed Secretary General of Podemos to replace Pablo Iglesias, who already took the witness in March at the head of the portfolio. Vistalegre IV -as the party’s fourth Citizen Assembly is already popularly known although it will be held in Alcorcón- will be decided with the votes of the affiliates, but the Navarrese leader has the support of the entire training apparatus and they appear on their list the main national and regional leaders purple.
Precisely this last question reveals one of the main concerns in Podemos. Belarra’s biggest challenge, once she takes the reins, will be to rebuild the party’s weakened territorial structure, a matter of urgency that no one in the party denies anymore. Only 2021 has stopped the bleeding of votes that they have been suffering since 2018, with Madrid and Catalonia as the main strongholds where on February 14 and May 4 they managed to keep the ground they won. In the other autonomies they have lost power or, as in the case of Galicia, they have disappeared from their Parliament.
Meanwhile, the third vice president, Yolanda Díaz, will be the visible face in the United Podemos coalition government (which includes Podemos itself, Izquierda Unida, Galicia en Común and en Comú Podem), from where she will prepare her jump to the next general elections. The also Minister of Labor has already made progress, including that she will be present at the dialogue table with Catalonia, which she hopes to resume now that Pere Aragonès has been invested as president of the Generalitat.
The strategy is so clear that Belarra has surrounded itself in its list with up to eleven regional leaders of Podemos: Maru Díaz, from Aragón; Conchi Abellán, Catalonia; Antón Gómez-Reino, Galicia; Pablo Fernández, Castilla y León; Martina Velarde, Andalusia; Jesús Santos, from Madrid; Pilar Garrido, Basque Country; Pilar Lima, Valencia; Javi Sánchez, Murcia; Irene de Miguel, Extremadura; and Laura Fuentes, from the Canary Islands. Other prominent leaders are also present, such as the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, at number two; o Pablo Echenique (in seventh place) and Rafael Mayoral (tenth).
Montero was discarded by the leadership, with his approval, to exercise leadership as he considered it “too close” to the previous leadership led by Iglesias. In Podemos they were clear about the issue that the new leadership had to be female and Belarra was chosen, they explain from the party, because of “her knowledge of the internal structures and her brilliant growth in recent years.”
Another issue to be settled in Vistalegre IV is the renewal of the Podemos Code of Ethics. The candidacy championed by Belarra proposes the possibility of exempting members of the party from resigning to public or internal office in case of conviction or prosecution because the main leaders of the party consider that “judicial harassment with political intentions” is underway. A formula that has already been used to avoid, for example, the accusation of the current Secretary of the Organization, Alberto Rodríguez, for crimes of attacking authorities and minor injuries, in which he allegedly kicked a police officer in a 2014 protest in La Laguna (Tenerife). Some facts for which the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court asks for six months in prison and an equal penalty of disqualification from holding public office.