Spain’s Radical Leftist ‘Podemos’ Drops in Polls As Greek Crisis Rolls On

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Support for Spain’s radical leftist Podemos party is falling as the crisis in Greece deepens, latest polls suggest.

Since it was founded last year, the party – whose name translates as “We Can” – has generated a huge amount of media attention with its radical anti-austerity message and at some points has even been ahead of the main parties in the polls.

In May’s regional elections the party gained 119 seats and finished third overall with 20.6 per cent of the vote, holding the balance of power and helping force the conservative People’s Party out of office in many regions.

However there are now signs that Spaniards are having second thoughts about the party. As Greece, which is governed by Podemos’s ideological cousins Syriza, continues in freefall after defaulting on its IMF debt payment on Wednesday, there is increasing evidence Spain is thinking twice before electing a similar government.

An NC-Report poll for the daily La Razón now puts the radical party on 12.5 per cent of the vote, a distant third behind the centre-left Socialists on 24.4 and the governing People’s Party on 31.2. Another by DyS for the LibertadDigital website puts them on a more respectable 20.2 per cent, but still in third place behind the two main parties.

This is a long way from earlier in the year when, at one point, the party had an eight-point lead in the polls and looked set to cause a major upset in the country’s forthcoming parliamentary elections – just as Syriza did in Greece.

There are also reports of infighting after the party approved new rules giving the central leadership a high level of control over selecting candidates for this year’s General Election – a move which has angered the party’s grassroots.

One activist called for party to treat its members like “grownups,” adding: “we don’t want to swap one elite for another”.

The general secretaries of the party in the Andalusia and Asturias regions voted against the proposal, while the party’s leader in Aragon abstained. The party’s Madrid branch has even asked the leadership to repeal the measure.

Spain’s election, due towards the end of this year, could be the most significant event in the Eurozone after the Greek crisis. If the radicals take power it could throw the troubled euro currency into further crisis, putting its long-term survival at stake.

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