UPDATED: Following the revelation that General Julio Rodríguez Fernández, former Chief of the Defence Staff in Spain, is going to join the Podemos campaign in a bid for Congress, the ruling PP has ousted the General from his position.
The Cabinet met on Friday November 6 and Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said the top military official had dishonoured the neutrality that was expected of all military personnel.
Saenz de Santamaria said the general´s decision implied “a lack of trust” as he was still in the reserves when the Podemos announcement was made.
However, reports from Rodriguez´s camp indicate that he had requested retirement before the Cabinet meeting took place on Friday,
“He is going from the reserves into retirement. He had personally requested it last week. This is not an expulsion.”
All parties are now in full campaigning mode ahead of the Spanish general elections on December 20.
PODEMOS have announced that General Julio Rodríguez Fernández, ex Chief of the Defence Staff from 2008 – 2011, will be up for election for the Spanish left party.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said in a press conference on Wednesday that “It is an honour for us to be joined by Julio Rodríguez, a man who has devoted his life to defending his country, a uniformed citizen and a democrat who has held the highest rank available in the military, and who contributes the solvency, honesty and commitment of a life devoted to others.”
“He is going to be number two on the Zaragoza list, after Pedro Arrojo,” Iglesias went on to say.
The General held the top ranking position under Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero´s Socialist government. Podemos are fourth in the polls at the moment and this is the latest high-profile enlistment that the party is expecting to give them a boost.
Earlier, on Monday, the party made the announcement that one of its candidates for the Spanish Congress will be Juan Pablo Wert, the brother of Spain´s ex education minister Jose Ignacio Wert.
Podemos are looking to capitalise on the momentum gained by the enlistments to rise in the polls as they are now behind the incumbent Popular Party, the Socialist Party and Ciudadanos.
“It will be an honour for us if he accepts being defence minister,” added Iglesias.