The pomp that surrounded that announcement, using the government headquarters and not the party offices, together with the exaggerated reaction of his opponents, caused a huge misunderstanding: Iglesias did not appear to win the elections or to fight anything. Iglesias appeared, simply, to prevent his party from disappearing from the Madrid Assembly.

The decision was desperate … but it worked. Many people speak of the poor result of Podemos in those regional elections because they start from a distorted vision: staying in the Assembly, even improving the results of two years before, was the only possible scenario of success for a formation in clear decline.

Iglesias, in that sense, did his job. It did not prevent the absolute majority of PP and Vox because it was impossible to avoid. He could not even compete against Más Madrid because what is happening in the capital, more or less, has been happening in the rest of the country: where there is a left-wing alternative to Podemos, the majority of the electorate prefers this alternative.

For years, Podemos solved that, at least at the national level, with calls confluences. People in Catalonia who wanted to vote for En Comú ended up voting for En Comú Podem. Those who wanted to vote for Compromís in the Valencian Community ended up reinforcing the Podemos parliamentary group, and so on.

With the collapse of En Marea in Galicia, the disengagement of Compromís and the bitter separation of Adelante Andalucía, all this looks to change in the very near future. Actually yes Íñigo Errejón it manages to set up a reasonable local infrastructure around Más País, so that it is not the extension of a Madrid party, it can get a good part of the Podemos vote that is on the run right now.

Left ‘Greta Thunberg’

What vote are we talking about? The last Madrid elections made it clear: Pablo Iglesias worked wonderfully in the really working-class neighborhoods and municipalities, but he could not compete in those of the emerging middle class.

Those other neighborhoods are full of left-wing voters who are relatively comfortable in the system. The PSOE is too conservative but the International and its derivatives sound like another century.

It is the left Greta Thunberg, concerned with sustainability, ecology and a vague sense of social justice that does not require assaults on the skies or revolutions. An urban middle class that wants to remain middle class without feeling guilty. What at first was the 15-M.

It is going to be difficult for Podemos to find space between so much regionalism and so much moderation. The surveys, from the outset, are very unfavorable to him. The survey average, known by its English name, poll of polls, places the purple formation below 10%; specifically, 9.6%. That would be three points less than in the general past of November 2019 and almost one point less than what Sociometrica gave for EL ESPAÑOL just two weeks ago.

The projection in seats would leave Podemos at 25, approximately, counting the aforementioned confluences in Catalonia and Galicia. That is, 25 deputies to be distributed among four forces: Podemos, Izquierda Unida, Esquerda Unida and En Comú.

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For a formation to which the surveys came to give more than 30% back in 2015, it seems little. In fact, in the 2014 European elections, the United Left alone already surpassed that 10% mark with Willy Meyer and the support of Los Verdes.

The situation of Podemos is precarious in this sense, and the supposed advance of Más País – bordering 5% in the average of polls – forces a certain paralysis: United Podemos entered the government willing to condition the most conservative measures of the PSOE, but what can be conditioned from such a weak electoral position?

At the height of the Errejón party and with worse prospects than those of the original United Left, how to threaten a rupture and a call for elections? Where would those elections lead for Podemos? It doesn’t look good anywhere.

Perhaps that is why Sánchez has taken the opportunity to place Nadia Calvin, the one that most times directly faced the wing of United We Can, as first vice president in her remodeling of Government. Of course, without touching a position of his coalition partner to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

Belarra, ‘unknown’ substitute

The challenge of reorganizing a party that has so appealed to sentiments in a fast-paced political world is tremendous. This is greatly influenced by the march of the founder and visible head during these seven years: Pablo Iglesias himself.

Everything that exists right now in Podemos exists in relation to Iglesias. There is no hint of renovation or anything like that. Those who disagree are already used to leaving, and a problem similar to that of Ciudadanos may soon arise: after the departure of Albert Rivera many familiar faces remained … but none were attractive enough on their own to avoid one electoral debacle after another.

Who is left in Podemos right now? From the outset, the great favorite to run for the next elections, as Iglesias hinted in his march, is an independent whose ties have more to do with Izquierda Unida than with Podemos. We talk about the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz, which could be a very good candidate, but it would influence the drift of the party to become an appendix of the coalition led by Alberto Garzón.

Apart from Yolanda Díaz, that is, in what is Podemos itself, the names hardly have the necessary packaging to face an electoral comeback. From the outset, many of the visible heads are unknown to the general public.

The secretary general of Podemos since last June 13 is Ione Belarra. Belarra, current Minister of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 – the ministry that Pablo Iglesias left vacant – is not exactly the best-known policy among citizens.

In the CIS barometer for the month of April, the last one that collected this question, 61.6% of those surveyed said they did not know the minister, who obtained the worst rating (3.5) of the entire Government. At first, it does not seem like a good beginning, although perhaps a greater knowledge would imply a better assessment. That should be put.

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New media hooks

Still, it is not clear how far the internal power of Ione Belarra reaches. Behind a name that may suggest renewal, there is a team full of acquaintances of the old guard.

In the Citizen Council, the decision-making body of Podemos, the following Echenique, Mayoral, Irene Montero, Isa Serra, the Chief Julio Rodriguez… Among the most media new faces we can highlight Lilith Verstrynge, daughter of the former leader of the Popular Alliance in Madrid, already Pablo Fernandez Santos, whose work in the Parliament of Castilla y León and his charismatic hair in the air make him easily recognizable by the general public.

Verstrynge, recently appointed Secretary of Organization of the party at 28 years old, has been for the last year and a half the right hand of Pablo Iglesias, beyond rumors that have nothing to do with politics or should influence his ability to carry out his position.

Of clearly international training – she studied in France and worked in Brussels collaborating with the United We Can parliamentary group – Verstrynge was Iglesias’ main advisor in the Vice Presidency and was part of his team in the Madrid elections. He is not, therefore, someone unknown within the party or disconnected from the powers that be.

As for Pablo Fernández Santos, he is a difficult man to locate, but his good manners are appreciated, which he demonstrated during the start of the pandemic in the Castilian-Leonese Parliament. That does not prevent him from maintaining a hard and forceful speech when necessary, very much in the face of the stands, a review of the usual topics against “the right”.

Probably, it is one of the important names in the future of the purple formation if there is anything left of it in its struggle for the existence between the United Left, the confluences, More Country and the PSOE itself. The latest polls seem to reinforce his only seat in the Castilian Parliament, which has to be described as a complete success.

At a time when the right presents its best electoral expectations in a long time, survival on the left becomes more difficult. Will Podemos be able to maintain its own niche outside the United Left, that is, the Communist Party? Will Íñigo Errejón manage to make the leap out of Madrid and Barcelona and form a solid party that can wage war at the national level?

We would say that there are two years to prove it, but the legislatures are not what they were. A bad night at the ERC or PNV headquarters, and at the polls again.

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