Tussle for power

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MADRID: Thousands occupied the Puerta del Sol.

PODEMOS was in the right place at the right time.  It grew from discontent crystallised by the 15-M movement when thousands occupied Madrid’s Puerta del Sol. 

“They call it democracy but it’s not,” they chanted as they mistakenly equated democracy with prosperity, a forgivable misconception as the two often go hand in hand.  

“No, no, no, they don’t represent us” was another cry, this time aimed at the PSOE socialists and the Partido Popular.

Podemos, inflated by Pablo Iglesias’ television programmes, emerged as a party from that movement but as it plunges into its party conference, the five principal founders are tussling over power, ideology and mundane organisation.  The cracks are visible as the foundations falter and without some serious underpinning Podemos sympathisers could again find themselves with no-one to represent them.

 

Simple arithmetic

IN 2008 the PSOE socialist party had 236,572 paid-up members. By September 2016 this had shrunk to 186,000.

The rot set in towards the end of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s last term in office when – through no fault of his government – the global crisis traumatically changed many life-styles.  

By the 2011 general election, the PSOE was losing 18.4 paid-up members a day, rising to 20.4 with Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba as secretary general.  Matters improved only slightly with Pedro Sanchez, losing 14.3 members a daily.

The PSOE will hold primaries next May and the membership will play a huge part in deciding who will head the party.  Incredible as it may seem, without an influx of new members 186,000 people could decide the future of the 138-year-old party.  Something doesn’t add somewhere.

 

Broken promises

ALLEGEDLY Susana Diaz, president of the Andalucia Region and hugely influential in the PSOE, backed Pedro Sanchez in the 2014 primaries on the understanding that he would eventually stand down as secretary general.  This would have given her a shot at the 2015 general election.  

If this is true, Sanchez reneged as usually happens, as pacts like these normally backfire. Look what happened to Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

 

Plain speaking

DONALD TRUMP has eliminated Spanish from the White House website.  

This is in keeping with Trump’s ‘America First’ slogan, with its pre-war connotations of isolationism.  But Spanish is the US’s second language and however much he fights against it, this is one tide he cannot keep back.  

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