22nd Oct 2016


New Spanish party wants to turn indignation into political change

  • Pablo Iglesias presenting Podemos in January Madrid (Photo: Jairo Vargas)

A new political party that has emerged from Spain's protest movement, los Indignados, is running in the upcoming European elections. Named Podemos, which means "We can" in Spanish, its founders say they want to convert indignation into political change.

Spain has been hard hit by the economic crisis since a housing bubble burst more than five years ago. While ordinary people have been suffering from public sector austerity, unemployment and house evictions, the ruling class has been mired by corruption scandals.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"It is crucial that ordinary people engage in politics. Because when the others [the political elite] are doing it, they are robbing us of democracy, our rights, and even our wallets," says the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias.

He sees the European Parliament as a good place to join forces with other southern European countries going through painful austerity measures and to start "a cycle of democratic transformation in Europe".

"A large part of the decisions that affect the life of people are taken at EU level. This is an adequate platform for the southern Europeans to tell the European Central Bank, the troika, Merkel that we are fed up, that we don't want to be governed by corrupt politicians and we don’t want to be a colony."

Iglesias says the problem is not the European Union as such, but the European institutions.

"The European Parliament is the only ​​democratically elected institution and it has very limited powers. Moreover, the MEPs are under the influence of lobbies that nobody has voted for. European Institutions mustn't be in the service of financial powers, but in the service of people," he says.

Podemos, which was officially announced as running in the EP elections on 29 April, has generated enormous enthusiasm in Spain. The party collected 50,000 signatures of support within 24-hours and their website crashed due to traffic overload after the project was made public in February.

The EU electoral system means that, unlike in Spain's general elections, small and medium-size parties have a good opportunity to turn their votes into seats in parliament.

Still, the country's two big parties, the ruling centre-right People's Party and the Socialists, are likely to win most of the 64 seats reserved for Spain. Almost a month before the elections, opinion polls are not giving much chance to Podemos, which is competing with better established small left-wing parties.

However, Podemos says in its manifesto that "a spark of hope is enough for Spaniards to escape the trap of despair". After testing the ground in the European elections, the party is ready to run in Spain's municipal, regional and general polls next year.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity