In Spain WE also CAN

Posted on 29. May 2014

by Estefanía Almenta


The man of the day in Spain is Pablo Iglesias, and his face is on the cover of every single newspaper. He’s a thirty-five-year-old Political Science lecturer at the Complutense de Madrid University, but what was his feat? He’s the leader of ‘Podemos’ (in Spanish, ‘We can’), the political party that, out of the blue, got five seats in the European Elections thanks to its 1.245.948 voters.

‘Podemos’ was founded four months ago and has a very short past as a political party, but not so brief as a political movement. It is deeply rooted in the M-15 Movement, started on May 15th 2011 to demand a radical change in Spanish politics. Chanting “They don’t represent us”, this youth civil movement voiced their disapproval of representative democracy. The fragile economic situation worsened by corruption and political bi-partidism led to tens of thousands of citizens who were – and still are – up in arms over the political scenario. What’s new here is that for the first time, this political disenchantment has had two direct effects on the election results: the turnout has been one point higher (45.84 % compared to 44.9 % in 2009); and the traditional bi-partidism (People Party and Socialists) has lost more than 5 millions of voters, now supporting new left-wing and centre parties.

This article is a part of a series of reflections by young Europeans, prepared in cooperation between FutureLab and Süddeutsche Zeitung Online. To read the original click here.