The Next Syriza? As Greece Rejects Austerity, Meet the Activist Who Could Become Spain’s New PM
HAVANA TIMES – Talks between Greece and eurozone finance ministers over Athens’ debt broke down Monday when the newly elected leftist Syriza government rejected a deal to extend the terms of the current bailout. The Greek Syriza party was elected last month on a promise to roll back the crippling austerity measures in Greece’s international bailout. While Syriza has taken power in Greece, the grassroots party Podemos is also quickly gaining popularity in Spain, Europe’s fifth largest economy.
On January 31, as many as 150,000 people rallied in Madrid to show support for the Podemos party, which translates into “We can.” Podemos only became an official party last March, but a recent poll by El País found 28 percent of the population supports the party, enough to possibly win Spain’s next general election. Last May, Podemos surprised many when it received 1.2 million votes and five seats in the European Parliament elections.
The party grew out of the “indignados” movement that began occupying squares in Spain four years ago. The indignados rallied against austerity cuts, rising unemployment and Spain’s political establishment. We are joined by Podemos Secretary General Pablo Iglesias, a 36-year-old political science professor and longtime activist who was elected to the European Parliament last year. If Podemos wins Spain’s national elections later this year, he could become Spain’s next prime minister.