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Podemos (Spanish political party)

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Title: Podemos (Spanish political party)  
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Podemos (Spanish political party)

General Secretary Pablo Iglesias Turrión
Founded 16 January 2014
Headquarters Calle Zurita 21,
28012 Madrid
Membership  (2015) Increase 383,087[1]
Ideology Democratic socialism[2]
Social democracy[3][4][5]
Direct democracy[2]
Left-wing populism[6][7]
Political position Left-wing[8][9]
European affiliation None
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours      Purple
Congress of Deputies
0 / 350
5 / 266
European Parliament
5 / 54
Regional Parliaments
139 / 1,248
Politics of Spain
Political parties

Podemos (Spanish: , translated in English as "We can")[1] is a left-wing political party in Spain, founded in March 2014 by Pablo Iglesias.

Iglesias was a lecturer in political science at the Complutense University of Madrid and is a member of the European Parliament. In the 2014 European Parliament elections on 25 May 2014, Podemos received 7.98% of the national vote, with 1,200,000 votes cast, electing 5 MEPs.[11]

Podemos was founded in the aftermath of the 15-M Movement protests against inequality and corruption.[12][13] It is a left-wing populist party that seeks to address the problems of inequality, unemployment and economic malaise that followed in the wake of the European debt crisis. Podemos has called for a renegotiation of austerity measures and seeks to curtail the Treaty of Lisbon.

Podemos is the second largest political party in Spain by number of members after the People's Party (PP);[14] it became the third largest party within the first 20 days it allowed membership, with 100,000 signing up in that period,[15] and it currently has over 350,000 members.



Pablo Iglesias Turrión, leader and founder of Podemos

Podemos came from the aftermath of the Izquierda Anticapitalista),[17] the Spanish section of the Trotskyist Fourth International,[19] which had written the Mover ficha manifesto in its internal documentation, designing the stages to launch the new movement.[20] One of the points highlighted by Iglesias was the derogation of the 135th article of the Constitution (which was made in 2011 by the major parties People's Party (PP) and Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)); full application of the 128th article of the constitution ("All wealth of the country in all its forms and no matter who owns it, is subordinated to the people's interest"); and maintaining abortion rights.[21] They also demanded Spain exit from NATO, and support self-determination rights.[22]

The Podemos movement was officially launched on 16 January 2014 in the Teatro de Barrio, in the Lavapiés neighbourhood of Madrid. A press conference was given, with the attendance of hundreds of persons, and in which Pablo Iglesias, Juan Carlos Monedero and others intervened; the USTEA syndicalist, activist of the Marea Verde and Anti-capitalist Left member Teresa Rodríguez;[23] the psychiatrist and member of the Marea Blanca, Ana Castaño; the researcher and analyst Íñigo Errejón, the social activist Miguel Urbán, militant and head of the Left Anti-capitalist party list for Madrid in the 2011 general elections. Its fundamental goal was to oppose the austerity politics which were being applied.[24]

To go on with the project and present itself to the European elections of 2014, the members of the bare-bones of Podemos set three conditions upon themselves: to receive the support of at least 50,000 people; that both party lists and the programme were elaborated through open participation; and that unity with other parties and movements of the left was to be found,[24] such as United Left,[17] the Popular Unity Candidates, the X Party, the Andalusian Workers Union, Anova or the citizens' mareas (tides).[22] The 50,000 signatures were obtained in less than 24 hours[25] and the Podemos website crashed due to the high traffic.

European elections 2014

On 25 May 2014 Podemos entered candidates for the 2014 European Parliament election, polling with 7.98% of the national vote and thus was awarded five seats out of 54.[26][27] The party's MEPs join the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group.[28]

Regarding the election Pablo Iglesias was described as pessimistic by El País: “We have lost these European elections. They have been won by the People's Party. We cannot be happy about this." He stated that his objective is to "move forward until we throw the PP and the PSOE out of power."[29] "We will now work with other parties from the south of Europe to make it clear that we don’t want to be a German colony.”[29] Iglesias said Podemos MEPs would not take the standard MEP salary of more than €8,000 a month, stating that "not one of our MEPs will earn more than €1,930, an amount that's three times the minimum wage in Spain".[30]

First party congress

On 5 June 2014, Pablo Iglesias announced that the Asamblea Ciudadana "Sí se puede" (Citizens' Assembly "Yes, it can be done") would take place in the autumn. Iglesias also announced that a team of twenty-five persons would be responsible for preparing the assembly, to be chosen in open elections (in which anybody could participate) with closed lists, with no limit to the number of lists which could be presented. The vote took place over the Internet on 12 and 13 June.[31] Two lists were presented, one of them headed by Pablo Iglesias,[32] and the other promoted by the Círculo de Enfermería (Nurses' circle).[33] The technical details of the election and the deadlines generated discussion within Podemos. In a meeting of Podemos circles which took place on June 8 in Madrid, there was criticism for both the closed lists and the short deadlines, which allegedly led to fewer lists being presented.[34] The electoral process, in which 55,000 people participated, gave the victory to Pablo Iglesias' list, with a 86.8% of the vote.[35]

A major part of the citizens' assembly consisted in the writing of documents defining he political and organizational principles of the party, as well as resolutions the party would adopt. Any member of Podemos could present a document; these would be adopted or rejected in a vote with all members of Podemos participating. These documents would determine the structure of the party; and after that, internal elections would take place, again with the participation of all members of Podemos, to fill the positions defined by this structure.[36]

The citizens' assembly had a meeting in Madrid during 18 and 19 October. On 19 October, Podemos membership was 130,000,[37] and on 22 October it was 170,000.[38]

The citizens' assembly resulted in the adoption of resolutions by the party, which were the five most voted, all of which were submitted by circles. Every member could vote for 5 resolutions. The approved resolutions were on improving public education (45%), on anti-corruption measures (42%), on the right to housing (38%), on improving public healthcare (31%), and on auditing and re-structuring the debt (23%).[39]

The ethical, political and structure documents proposed by the "Claro que Podemos", which included Luis Alegre, Carolina Bescansa, Íñigo Errejón, Pablo Iglesias and Juan Carlos Monedero were approved by 80.7% of the vote, surpassing "Sumando Podemos" 12.3% of the vote, promoted by the MEPs Pablo Echenique, Teresa Rodríguez and Lola Sánchez, in the vote for the structure document.[40][41]

Municipal elections 2015

In October 2014, Podemos decided not to stand directly in the May 2015 municipal elections in Spain.[42] Instead, it decided that its members would support local grassroots candidacies, most notably Guanyem Barcelona, the citizen platform led by anti-evictions activist Ada Colau in Barcelona and Ahora Madrid, led by ex-judge Manuela Carmena, in Madrid.


Podemos presented a collaboratively written programme for the European elections 2014. Some of the most important policies were:


The support obtained by the new formation after the European elections in 2014 resulted in multiple analyses and reactions. While some sectors welcomed the results, but there were also expressions of concern. Pedro Sanchez, Secretary General of the PSOE since July 2014, branded Podemos populist on numerous occasions at the beginning of his term,[43] while much of its electorate opted for the new party.[44] The New York Times stated that a challenge for Podemos would be putting together a true agenda noting that "the party’s 36-page campaign program reads like a wish list, with little detail about how it could be financed at a time when Spain is still struggling under a heavy debt burden".[45] Vicente Palacio of Fundación Alternativas said that Podemos could have "very beneficial effects in terms of regenerating the Spanish democratic system", but is in danger of going "toward populism and demagogy, as has happened in the case of Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement in Italy".[45] As of November 2014, the PSOE has chosen, instead, to distance itself from populism and the extreme left, trying thus to preserve the center left.[46][47]

The leader of Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD), Rosa Díez, said that similarities can be found with the Greek left-wing coalition Syriza, with the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo and even with the French far-right National Front of Marine Le Pen.[48] The spokesman for the People's Party, María Dolores de Cospedal, said that poll results show a radicalization of the left vote.[49] Esperanza Aguirre, another prominent member of the People's Party, accused Pablo Iglesias of "being with the Castrismo, with Chavismo and ETA", which Pablo Iglesias responded to statements described as "slander" and announced he would consider legal action.[50]

The leaders of Podemos also tried to distance themselves from the Center for Political and Social Studies Foundation (CEPS Foundation), €3.5 million which helped fund the television debate shows that helped Podemos' popularity to increase quickly.[51][52] Podemos called for an external auditor to observe accounts from February 2014 to December 2014 which showed that the total income from both private donations and state subsidies was at about €947,000, though the largest donors to the party were Podemos' own five MEPs.[51]

Popular support

Graph of opinion polls about voting intention for the 2015 Spanish election. The purple line is Podemos, the blue line is PP and the red line is PSOE.

According to GlobalPost, Podemos and other parties of the left have suddenly grown because of Europe's economic difficulties.[53] Unemployment, especially among young Spanish adults, has created a positive sentiment towards Podemos and their appeal to the unsatisfied youth of Spain with an "irreverent style".[53] Podemos also used its very well run social media presence to its benefit to find popularity.[53]

After it received the fourth highest number of votes in the European elections, news related to the growth of Podemos started to be published. The hashtag Pablo Iglesias was the number 1 trending topic on Twitter in Spain the day after the elections[54] and Pablo Iglesias Turrión appeared on the front page of prominent Spanish newspapers. Before the elections, Podemos was already the most popular political force within social networks, but it had increased from 100,000 to 600,000 "Likes" on Facebook between May and July 2014.[55] The CIS' quarterly survey, polling over July 2014 (two months after the elections) showed Podemos as the second most popular party regarding direct intention of vote, surpassing the PSOE, but being a 0.9% behind the PP.[56] In late July, Podemos started to allow individuals to sign up, with 32,000 people registering as members in the first 48 hours, through Podemos' Web site, for free.[57] In the first 20 days, Podemos already had about 100,000 members, becoming the third largest Spanish party by membership, surpassing United Left (IU), Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD), Convergence and Union (CiU) and Basque Nationalist Party (PNV/EAJ).[58] On August 2014, Podemos already had 442,000 more "Likes" on Facebook than the "Likes" of the rest of the parties combined, having 708,763, with more than 2.6 million views on its YouTube channel.[55] On September 2014, the interview of Pablo Iglesias in Viajando con Chester had almost 3 million watchers, being the most watched programme in its timeslot with 14.5% of the audience share.[59] On October 2014, Pablo Iglesias' participation in La Sexta Noche (in which he was also interviewed) rose the audience share of the program to 16,2%, which is its historical maximum.[60] Pablo Iglesias' interview in Salvados also made the program have its best ever audience, with a 23.8% and 5 million watchers.[61] In late October, Podemos had more than 200,000 members.[62] On 2 November 2014, El País published an opinion poll which gave Podemos 27.7% approval rating, compared to PSOE's 26.2% and PP's 20.7%, and gave Podemos a direct intention of vote of 22.2%, compared to PSOE's 13.1% and PP's 10.4%.[63]

Election results

Congress of Deputies / Senate

Election Congress of Deputies Senate Rank Government Leader
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/− Seats won +/−
2015 New
0 / 350
0 / 208
TBD To be determined Pablo Iglesias Turrión

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election Votes % ±pp Seats won +/− Rank Candidate
2014 1,253,837 8.0% New
5 / 54
Increase5 #4 Pablo Iglesias Turrión

Membership history

Date Membership (approx.)
28 July 2014 0[15]
17 August 2014 100,000[15]
27 October 2014 200,000[62]
14 November 2014 250,000[1]
29 December 2014 300,000[1]
26 February 2015 350,000[1]

Regional Branches

Podemos Region of Murcia


  1. ^ In other Spanish languages the name of Podemos is as follows:


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  3. ^
  4. ^ Pablo Iglesias: "No nos hemos moderado. Estamos cómodos en la socialdemocracia"
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Cuadro resumen de Grupos Parlamentarios (Composición actual).
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b c d
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^
  26. ^ Sky news:Spanish voters punish mainstream parties
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ a b
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^ a b c
  52. ^ a b
  53. ^ a b c
  54. ^
  55. ^ a b
  56. ^
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  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^ a b
  63. ^

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