Spain will be watching

Andalucia's regional elections will measure how much punch Podemos can deliver

LAST UPDATED: 9 Feb, 2015 @ 11:28
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© the Olive Press
THE eyes and ears of the country will be focussed strongly on Andalucia next month.

The early elections just called by Socialist leader Susana Diaz are set to show just how much punch the anti-austerity party Podemos can really deliver.

This grouping of fed-up citizens has garnered unprecedented support across the country, but so far has received a lukewarm response in Andalucia.

The Socialists are hedging bets on the disarray and internal fighting among Podemos leaders – the current head of Podemos in Andalucia belongs to a faction critical of national leader Pablo Iglesias.

Diaz is also banking on her soaring popularity and the noisy rumblings concerning her political rivalry with PSOE national leader Pedro Sanchez who, despite his own glowing approval rating, has witnessed a wave of defections to Podemos.

For the past 35 years, Andalucia has been a PSOE stronghold where the large working-class vote favors the left.

But the cracks have been appearing. Diaz inherited a government two years ago plagued by corruption scandals and cronyism.

Her predecessor Jose Griñan negotiated a fragile power-sharing deal with the United Left (IU) coalition in order to cling on to power in 2012 (the PP actually won).

This marriage slowly began falling apart when the IU made demands that seemed fair enough to help struggling families, including government caps on rent and utilities. But Diaz was oddly not interested.

Now Podemos must work out a way to capitalise and at the same time overcome the hints of sleaze some of its leaders have been facing.

Podemos, currently third in the polls, has a lot of work to do in less than two months if it intends to show the rest of Spain that yes, it really can.

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