Podemos confirms Pablo Iglesias as General Secretary – but with a damper

Although they have been part of the Spanish government for a few months now, Podemos does not want to see any real sense of optimism. The many splits of the last years have left visible traces. These became clear with the re-election of General Secretary Pablo Iglesias.

Since January 2020 Vice President of Spain: Pablo Iglesias
Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain

With 92.2 % of the votes, Spanish Vice-President Pablo Iglesias won out over Fernando Barredo. However, the turnout was barely more than 11%. More than half a million eligible voters were called upon to cast their votes at the third “Asamblea Ciudadana” (citizens’ meeting). In the end, less than 60,000 responded to the call, even though the vote was held online.

Due to the Corona pandemic, the third party conference of Podemos had to be moved to the Internet. Thus the otherwise typical debates were dropped. In addition to the General Secretary, the new party organs were elected in the last few days. The results will be announced shortly. With the election of Iglesias, it was decided that there will no longer be any restrictions on the number and duration of public offices per person with the agreement of the base. In addition, the salary limit of three inter-professional minimum salaries will no longer apply.

However, the sovereign result of Pablo Iglesias should not deceive: The low voter turnout already mentioned is also an indicator that the base is probably not as active as it was three years ago. The total voter turnout of non-active and active members was still 34 percent in 2017. In relative terms, this represents 90,000 votes more than today. In addition, since the second party congress, prominent members such as Íñigo Errejón have left the party. This year, the anti-capitalist wing has also announced its break with Podemos.

Whether the new membership fee of three euros per month (with exceptions), as proposed by Pablo Iglesias, will be able to bind members closer to the party again remains to be seen. In Spain, parties traditionally distinguish between non-active and active party members.