PODEMOS aren’t too chuffed by comparisons with the populist agenda of president-elect Donald Trump. The anti-austerity party, which is poised to become Spain’s chief opposition to the Rajoy government in the wake of Socialist decline, has sought to avoid being painted as either left or right-wing.
Its strong opposition to international trade deals such as TTIP, the neo-liberalism of the European Union and NATO defence policies has seen some analysts see parallels with Trump’s anti-NAFTA, anti-interventionist, and anti-Wall Street message.
That dismays Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias who felt compelled to defend the ‘left-wing populist movement’.
“Populists are outsiders and can be on the right, the left, or they can be ultra-liberals or protectionists, although they can use similar methods,” he wrote, pondering whether Podemos’ future lies in opposing injustice from outside or within the political system.
Southern Europe has embraced a more socialist populism than that emerges in northern countries, with the exception of France. Spain’s Podemos, Greece’s Syrizia, and Italy’s Five Star Movement offer markedly different policies to the populist ethno-nationalist visions of UKIP, Germany’s AfD and France’s Front National.