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Iglesias re-elected to head Spain’s Podemos

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Left-wing party Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias (L) raises his fist during the closing of a decisive two-day party congress at Vistalegre bullring in Madrid, Spain on February 12, 2017. (AFP photo)

Spain’s anti-establishment party Podemos will continue to be led by hardline leftist Pablo Iglesias as members of the party have preferred him and his strategies for the party over a more mainstream narrative.

More than 89 percent from over 155,000 people voted to re-elect Iglesias as Podemos secretary general during a vote in the party’s congress on Sunday,.

The vote gives the Podemos founder the mandate to head the leadership council of the party, which currently sits third in the Spanish National Congress.

Some 56 percent of the voters also endorsed Iglesias’ far-left vision for Podemos, effectively rejecting a notion advocated by his deputy Inigo Errejon, who believed that the party should take a more mainstream direction to replace the Socialists as Spain's main opposition party and eventually take power in the country.

Left-wing party Podemos members applaud during the closing of a decisive two-day party congress at Vistalegre bullring in Madrid on February 12, 2017. (AFP photo)

Podemos gained popularity during protests over Spain’s severe economic crisis in 2014. The party then managed to reach the national-level politics by winning millions of votes in two elections. Podemos currently has 71 seats in the Spanish parliament as part of a wider left-wing coalition. A shock win in Greece in January 2015 for the leftist Syriza, an ally of Podemos, boosted hopes for a similar victory for the far-left in Spain.

Juan Moreno Yagüe, a low-profile lawmaker, competed with Iglesias for the leadership role in the Sunday vote, which was open to some 450,000 members of the party. Thousands of Podemos followers, who had gathered in a conference center in Madrid, hailed Iglesias’ victory in the votes. Senior members of the party also described the results as an end to widening disagreements in Podemos.

Many of those on a list of candidates proposed by Iglesias for the leadership council also managed to win. The 38-year-old had faced fierce resistance over the list and had announced that he would step aside if the list was rejected. 

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