Ione Belarra, Minister of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, began her career in Valencia this Saturday to lead Podemos after the departure of Pablo Iglesias’s policy due to the failure in the Madrid elections on May 4. Belarra, 33, has set the goal of making the training “grow” to make it the “first progressive force in Spain”, and that the third vice president Yolanda Díaz is the “next president” of the Government. “We are not satisfied,” said Belarra. In his speech, which reminded those of the Podemos founder in the campaign for Madrid, Belarra referred to the influence of the Podemos ministers in the coalition government and thanked Iglesias, who was not present, “everything that has given ”to the political project. “Without you, Podemos would not be understood,” he said.
In a rally held at the Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia, a nod to the pact that the progressive coalition Executive built in 2015 and put an end to two decades of PP hegemony in the Generalitat, Belarra has defended a multinational project, “which speak and listen to all languages ”.
“It is not by chance that we have decided to present the candidacy outside of Madrid and that we do it in the Valencià Country,” said the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, one of the fundamental pieces of the Executive that Belarra prepares. “The message is very clear. Spain is a multinational country. We want to have a Navarrese at the forefront, we want to put in value the governments, the wisdom, the learning, the languages, the cultures that coexist in our country, which make us who we are ”, added Montero, the number two of Podemos.
“I need you all to build the strongest, feminist, green Podemos, rooted in our territory,” Belarra outlined in full sun before naming the regional coordinators who accompany her in the candidacy, most of them present this Saturday: Martina Velarde (Andalusia), Conchi Abellán (Podem Catalunya), Pablo Fernández (Castilla y León), Antón Gómez-Reino (Galicia), Pilar Lima (Valencian Community), Jesús Santos (Madrid) or Irene de Miguel (Extremadura).
The Citizen Assembly, the process that will elect the next Citizen Council, will culminate on June 13 with the publication of the results of the voting, which will take place between the 6th and 12th of that month. Podemos will celebrate the closing of Vistalegre IV in person on the weekend of June 12 and 13. To date, Belarra’s candidacy has obtained more than 4,200 endorsements, the highest number ever achieved in an assembly. At least 500 endorsements are necessary to attend.
In an event in which a score of members of the list – and more women than men – have briefly intervened, Belarra has shown her intention to build a feminist leadership that is exercised in a “collective” way (“taking care of ourselves, speaking, reaching agreements ”). And he has pointed out, beyond Montero – whom he has named in the first place – some of the “key” names in the future: Secretary of State Noelia Vera, the spokesperson in the Madrid Assembly, Isabel Serra; Sofía Castañón, deputy spokesperson in Congress; María Teresa Pérez, general director of the Injuve; Alejandra Jacinto, regional deputy and activist for decent housing; the advisor Lilith Verstrynge, the MEP Idoia Villanueva or the secretary of LGTBI Rights of the party, Ángela Rodríguez Pam.
The Minister of Social Rights has also called to “strengthen alliances” with the “sister” formations and has defended a way in which Podemos “open to weave” new ones to “continue adding”, something that critical voices within of the party, but from a position of equal to equal. Despite having a presence in the central government, Podemos’ electoral support is far from that of the early days (it achieved 35 deputies in 2019 compared to 69 in 2015), so Belarra has also indicated that the party must “grow in votes ”. Precisely Grow is the word chosen to baptize the candidacy of Belarra. To achieve this, the head of Social Rights has stated that “will demand until the last letter” of the government agreement with the PSOE and has set as a “more important” objective that Yolanda Díaz “arrive at Moncloa.” “It is a pride to work with you so that you can take us as far as possible”, has questioned an absent vice president in Valencia, since Díaz is not a member of Podemos.
In the closing speech, Irene Montero referred to the party as “the engine of the main democratic and multinational transformations” in the country. He also recalled Iglesias, of whom he said he had left the coalition government “protected, careful, united, to be able, after his replacement, to grow and win everything.” Despite the fact that references to the former vice president’s legacy flew over several of the speeches, Iglesias, removed from politics and aware – as he himself stated – that his figure no longer adds up, he was killed in Valencia.
It was not the only one. Although the list presented by Belarra for the State Citizen Council is continuous with the previous stage, of the 20 positions that currently make up the Coordination Council, the party’s governing body, there are three names that are not included in his candidacy, which has 97 members, in addition to the minister. Alberto Rodríguez, Secretary of Organization and Number Three of the party, one step away from sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court, had already transferred a week before that he would not run for reelection. His announcement coincided in time with the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office to request six months in jail for him for an offense of attack against authority and a minor offense of injury for kicking a policeman in a demonstration in 2014. On the team Nor is there Manu Levin from Belarra, one of the fundamental strategists of the party, who served in the last Executive as secretary of Speech and Political Analysis, closely linked to Iglesias and responsible for his campaign in Madrid. The last absence is that of Ana Marcello, secretary of Circles, in charge of relations with the rank and file, a key position at a time when there is also a commitment to a growth in militancy.