Pablo Iglesias: 'Spain need a government of change'

Issue 
Pablo Iglesias.

The article below is by Pablo Iglesias, secretary-general of the radical Spanish political force Podemos. It abridged from the January 24 El Pais and was translated from Spanish by Dick Nichols.

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The result of the December 20 election put an end to Spain's political shift-system. It opened up the historic possibility of our country having a government not exclusively dominated by the old party machines that have shared power over the last decades.

For the first time, Spain could have a pluralist and progressive government that could: introduce in its first 100 days a program of immediate emergency social support; lead the constitutional change citizens are calling for; provide democratic solutions and new formulas of coexistence to meet the territorial crisis; and purge the parasitism from our institutions.

We have made a clear proposal. We have said that it is possible to satisfy the hopes held for a pluralist and progressive government by the more than five million voters who gave their confidence to the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and by the six million who gave support both to Podemos and the broader platforms in which we participate, as well as to the United Left-Popular Unity (IU-PU).

We cannot fail these 11 million voters, nor those who under no circumstances want the People's Party (PP) to remain in power. In fact, this government of change would enjoy one of the broadest electoral support bases in Spanish history.

Enormous pressure is being exercised by the powers-that-be, in Spain and abroad, for the old political machines to keep the state in their grip.

We've said it many times: we don't trust the PSOE apparatus, but we admire its rank-and-file members and its voters. Its old apparatuses and functionaries never miss a chance to do the exact opposite of what they preach.

But the PSOE rank-and-file know that our presence in government — from the deputy prime ministership to the ministries that would be ours — is the best guarantee that their own party won't disappoint them again.

We also know that the best vaccine against treachery, fake leaks and double-dealing is to have the citizens as witnesses of what is said and done. That is why we have invited [PSOE leader Pedro] Sanchez to take part in a dialogue open to the public, without prejudicing to the negotiations that must also take place.

Negotiations are needed to settle the text of agreements that must afterwards be made public, but proposals and arguments are tested out through public discussion.

The “temporary” withdrawal of the candidacy of Mariano Rajoy [for prime minister] has sped up the chances of bringing about a government of progress. There is no time to lose, nor to give to those ready to argue that a grand coalition of the PP, PSOE and Citizens could be viable.

We are at a point when the instinct for history, what Isaiah Berlin called “sense of reality”, must lead us to play a role that responds to the aspirations of the majority. That is why we are prepared to form government.

I have been able to talk with [IU-PU leader] Alberto Garzon and he is ready to move forward in the direction of change. I have talked with leaders of other forces open to dialogue who do not want the PP to govern. I've spoken with Sanchez and I hope, with all my heart, that he allows himself to rise to the occasion.

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