In just a year since its founding, the party “Podemos” – We Can – has overturned the two party system in place since Spain embraced democracy in the 1970s. It is now polling around even with the ruling People’s Party (PP) and main opposition Socialists, and has even led in some polls.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s PP has unveiled a raft of new, populist-tinged measures, such as an anti-corruption bill, new monthly payments for the long-term unemployed and the first rise in the minimum wage in two years.
The Socialists have replaced their leaders in search of fresh faces that would have more electoral appeal. Further to the left, the former Communists have announced similar plans.
But Podemos activists say the mainstream parties are missing the point: their group offers not just new personalities and a new policy mix, but a whole new way of thinking about politics, giving greater voice to ordinary Spaniards who feel ignored by a political class derided as “la casta” or “the caste”.
Podemos has set up hundreds of local assemblies known as “circulos” across the country, staging unruly weekly meetings at which Spaniards can vent the anger built up during worst economic crisis since World War Two.
Rajoy’s entourage is betting on fear of instability to lure back some of the 5 million voters that have abandoned his PP since 2011. The Socialists expect long-time backers now flirting with Podemos to balk at the last minute.
Business leaders and some in both parties are hopeful the two mainstream groups can agree a grand coalition to govern if necessary, although both have ruled out this scenario for now.
That would give Podemos an opportunity to shake things up from outside the system, like Syriza and the Five Star Movement, which have both been kept from power so far but have transformed debate in Greece and Italy from the opposition benches.
But that is not the scenario that suits Luis Maestre, back at the Salamanca circulo. A 56-year old civil servant who voted for the socialists and the communists for 40 years, he now wants to run for a seat in Madrid town hall under the Podemos banner.
“The system can only be changed from the inside. We want to seize local, regional and national power. We want to blow over the political chessboard and move the pieces around.”
It seems to me that the “Podemos” have the right Idea. Our Washington DC establishment Republican’s immediate betrayal of the voters and their conservative base on Obama’s amnesty, (after having the Senate handed back to the GOP) indicates that the Republican leadership will no longer observe the will of the people who put them in office. What the “Podemos” have started in Spain must be the next move for the TEA Party movement, as both parties have turned their backs on the voters in order to continue their corrupted party establishment-crony political agenda.
We’ve already seen populist (anti-elite ruling class) political parties winning in India, The UK and elsewhere.
The rise of one of these parties in Sweden and also in Germany is being slimmed by falsely claiming it is ”racist.”
In Spain this rise of a populist party is long overdue.
We think we have a tough unemployment youth issue?
The USA has 17.3% unemployment in youth between ages 15 and 24.
In Spain they have 53.2% unemployed in that age group!
The Spanish have one of the lowest birth rates on earth, so low that their average age is 42!
People there have lost all hope.
Perhaps this might turn things around if it is not too late.
Anti-government protest takes place in Hungary