The government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez can continue to count on the five seats of the radical left party Podemos, which insisted on Wednesday that it would not jeopardise the coalition’s stability, a day after it announced that it was leaving the progressive coalition partner Sumar following months of bitter clashes.
On Wednesday, Podemos leader Ione Belarra assured Justice Minister Félix Bolaños (PSOE/S&D) that the coalition government is not in danger, as Sánchez’s government will continue to count on the support of Podemos’s five seats to govern, Euractiv´s partner EFE reported.
The day before, on Tuesday, Podemos announced that it was leaving the Sumar platform, now composed of 14 left-wing parties and that its five deputies would join the Spanish parliament’s mixed group of heterogeneous parties.
Sumar, led by government Vice-President Yolanda Díaz, remains the fourth-largest group in parliament. However, its seat count dropped from 31 to 26 due to Podemos’ withdrawal move, which many analysts saw coming.
But the final nail in the coffin for Podemos was the decision by Sánchez and Díaz to deny the party any ministries in the new government.
Podemos’ exit goes against the party’s agreement with Sumar before the summer to run together in the snap elections on 23 July.
One of the main disputes between both radical formations concerns Belarra’s demand that former equality minister Irene Montero should have the same responsibility in the new government following the bitter controversy over the so-called “only yes means yes law” defended by Montero.
Podemos defend their independence in parliament
Belarra told journalists she would not put obstacles in the way of Sánchez or Sumar, but that from now on, Podemos was “just another interlocutor with whom we will also have to negotiate the legislative agenda”, with full autonomy to make decisions.
Government sources told EFE that the five Sumar ministers in the new government are also not worried about the possibility that Podemos MPs might “boycott” any future measures of the progressive government.
The feeling within the executive is just the opposite, as there is a greater sense of calm after several months of tension between Belarra and Díaz, the sources added.
Meanwhile, the five Podemos MPs say they want to focus on the increasingly high cost of housing, promote a feminist agenda and work together to ensure Spain plays an active role in the EU to promote peace in Ukraine and Gaza, among other issues.
Podemos sources have made it clear that the PSOE will have to work hard to earn its votes and that its five deputies will also play a key role in the new legislature, along with the Catalan separatist forces JxCat and ERC, and the Basque PNV and EH Bildu, which guarantee the stability of Sánchez’s government.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.Euractiv.es)
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