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Spain: Podemos MEP Pablo Iglesias condemns 'hijacking of democracy' by big business

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July 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  Pablo Iglesias is one of the five members of the European Parliament elected from the lists of Podemos, a barely 100-day-old political party that in the May 2014 European elections won more than 1 million votes in Spain.

In his maiden speech in the European Parliament, Iglesias praised the memory of the European peoples who fought for justice and freedom, and attacked the hijacking of democracy by financial markets, lobbies and big corporations.

Podemos website (in Spanish)is at http://podemos.info/

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Podemos is Spain’s 3rd political force, radical left at 26%-poll

An opinion poll puts Spain’s radical new formation Podemos (We Can) in third position with 15% of people surveyed indicating backing for the party led by the ponytailed 35-year-old university lecturer Pablo Iglesias.

Pollster CIS found that 14.6% of people supported Podemos, almost double the 8% the fourth-month old party garnered in the European elections, and ahead of the traditional force of the radical left, Izquierda Unida, with 11%.

The ruling Popular Party (PP) and the Socialists (PSOE) both scored 24.4% compared to 26.06% and 23% respectively in the elections to the European parliament.

Smaller centrist parties generally did badly: UPyD, founded in 2007, scored just 2.8% against 6.5% in the European elections; Ciudadanos (Citizens) which took 3.16% of the vote in the last election, polled just 1.7%.

When those polled were asked which were the most debated issues in the campaign, the top two were the economy (20.06%) and unemployment (7.1%). And following on from this question, which party or coalition was closer to the their positions on these matters, the PP took first place with 16%, with Podemos second, but only just, at 15.8%, and ahead of the PSOE, at 14.13%. Izquierda Unida scored 5.8% and UPyD to 2.6%.

But returning to the headline figures – taking Podemos and Izquerida Unida’s support together - this poll indicates that now 26% of the electorate are backing parties that want a radical new progressive direction for Spain. That’s the kind of support commanded by Syriza, a broad coalition of radical left forces in Greece that would likely win an election if called today.

The two Spanish parties are in the same European Left grouping in the European Parliament – but are highly suspicious of each other at home. So what’s the chances they bury their differences – on key policies, such a reigning in the banks and returning power to the people they are very close – and work together for a real alternative in Spain?

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