A WEEK after announcing he was quitting politics after a drubbing at the polls in Madrid, Pablo Iglesias, the former leader of Spain’s radical left party Podemos, delivered another bombshell: he has chopped off his famous pony-tail.
His new look was revealed with a photograph published in La Vanguardia accompanied by an article that described the move as a ritualistic transformation as he puts his political career behind him and embarks on the next stage of his life.
For Pablo Iglesias, like Samson, his long locks were a symbol of his power, one that he had steadfastly refused to change despite his meteoric trajectory from outsider to the heart of the political establishment.
The 42-year-old had reportedly mulled a change of hairstyle on several occasions with pressure to cut his hair for a more respectable look when he first stood for won a seat in the European legislature in 2014, then again when he ran as a candidate in the Spanish national elections a year later.
The issue of his hair cut continued to dog him when he entered into a coalition with the Socialists and took a role as Deputy Prime Minister.
But the pony tail that he had worn since his student days was seen as a symbol of his ideology and any change would be deemed to be a departure from his roots.
His party was born of the indignados movement, a youth angry with austerity measures brought in during Spain’s deep economic crisis that burst onto the political scene to end four decades of dominance by the PP and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE).
The former political science lecturer refused to wear the suit and tie of other politicians, even attending his swearing in ceremony with King Felipe in an open shirt.
Last week his trajectory came to a dramatic end, when he was demolished at the polls in Madrid’s regional election by conservative leader Isabel Ayuso.
In the wake of the defeat he admitted he had failed and said he was quitting politics for good.
Now, with a new grown up hairstyle, Spain is waiting to see what Iglesias does next.
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