Pablo Iglesias certified during the election night of May 4 that Podemos was not, of course, the party destined to govern, but neither was it the “electoral war machine” that he himself and Íñigo Errejón had planned in January 2014. The setback , after a campaign in which the historical purple leader was involved with the sickle and kick and which only served to not lose ground in the Madrid Assembly, he demonstrated that that political device that only seven years earlier had broken all the forecasts was rusty and that the need for a relief was notorious. Iglesias then precipitated his succession, despite the fact that he had been planning it for months as a transition under his tutelage until the next generals. But the urgency for not extending the interim situation accelerated the whole process.
A second generation of leaders today takes a step forward in Podemos, led by the Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, who will become the general secretary at the fourth Citizen Assembly of the party, which has been held since yesterday in the Paco de Lucía auditorium. of Alcorcón (Madrid), and which is popularly known as Vistalegre IV but could well be called Alcorcón I. The challenges that the new dome will face are of all colors, but can be summarized in overcoming seven years of hyper-leadership by Iglesias, adapting to an unprecedented bicephaly, and to stop the bleeding of votes that threatens to condemn them to irrelevance in the face of the strength, at least in Madrid, of Más País, the party led by Errejón.
To confront them, the party apparatus chose to promote Belarra, a one hundred percent Podemos product. “Pata negra” is described by some of her collaborators. The young woman from Navarra, 33 years old and a psychologist by training (she forged friendship with Irene Montero during her career), has grown up politically in purple squares, unlike her founding members, who came mainly from the university field, from the Madrid Faculty of Political Sciences of the Complutense.
His election, in the absence of being ratified today by the militancy, is not accidental and responds to a millimetric calculation operation of change of cycle. It seeks, on the one hand, to «feminize» the leadership of the party and, on the other, to strengthen ties with the periphery, neglected by the capital origin of the founding nucleus, such as Iglesias himself or number two, Irene Montero (discarded by his bonding with the former purple leader). Two qualities to which the third vice president, Yolanda Díaz, Galician and without a party license, also responds, which will complete the new purple bicephaly. In her case, from within the Government, acting as interlocutor of the United We Can coalition and without having yet accepted the offer to become the candidate for the following general elections.
In the case of Belarra, she has gone from being a low-level deputy to minister in just six years, thanks mainly to the loyalty she has shown to Iglesias and her knowledge of the party’s fabric. In the summer of 2018, during Montero’s maternity leave, she was the spokesperson for the parliamentary group and began to emerge. With the former second vice president, he shares the hard tone, the conviction that the PSOE must abide by the literality of the coalition pact and that it must distance itself from the socialists. He has already shown proof of this this week, asking that the former president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont not be arrested if he decides to return to Spain. The government spokesman reminded him that the independence leader “must be tried.”
Belarra already had tense clashes with the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, at the end of 2020, when she was still Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda. In a tweet, she accused the magistrate of being “the favorite minister of the far right” because of her differences in matters such as the monarchy, the democratic quality of Spain – which Podemos insisted on denying – or the regulation of the price of rents.
The head of Social Rights, who precisely replaced Iglesias in office in March, has participated in the toughest negotiations of the coalition, such as the 2021 Budgets, which successfully concluded, the ban on evictions during the state of alarm, or the new housing law, which is being discussed with the team of the ministry led by José Luis Ábalos and which continues its course, still without progress.
Starting today, it will have to show that Podemos is a viable project without the popular pull, for better and for worse, of Iglesias. «Our political force must leave behind the phase characterized by the leadership and personality of Pablo. A phase that has culminated in indisputable successes. But from now on it is necessary to build a new Podemos, with a more collective role, whose leadership is assumed mainly by colleagues and that represents a Spain that is much more than Madrid, “he defends in the political document of his candidacy.
Another urgency involves consolidating the territorial roots of the party and the alliances. It also strengthens its position in the spectrum to the left of the PSOE, a space competed with spin-offs from Podemos, such as the case of Más País, led by Errejón, or Adelante Andalucía, led by Teresa Rodríguez. The environmentalist flank will try to cover it with Alianza Verde, the new confluence led by deputy Juantxo López de Uralde.
How his cohabitation with Yolanda Díaz will be is an unknown that only time will clear. For some it is yin and yang; for others, water and oil. For now, good words and mutual compliments, but politics, and more in times of lean cows, uncover personal demons.