EQUALITY MINISTER Irene Montero got into a heated debate on the campaign trail on Wednesday, after an elderly woman in Valencia criticised the leftist politician for having purchased a luxury country house in the Madrid suburb of Galapagar.

During the tense moment, which was caught on camera by journalists and broadcast on Espejo Público on Antena 3, the woman stated that her husband ‘had been working since the age of 14’ and that she ‘didn’t understand how’ Montero, from the Unidas Podemos party, could have purchased the property at her age (she is currently 35). 

“Do you know why ma’am?” Montero responded in an aggravated tone. “Because my father passed away at the age of 60 from cancer, and he left me an inheritance because I am an only child. That’s why, and because I have a partner with whom I can buy, with my money, the house that I want to.”

As the woman started to respond, Montero turned around and moved away, prompting a furious response.

“Hey, let me speak!” the woman shouted. “Let me speak! You’ve got a nerve! What a nerve. She didn’t let me speak.”

At that moment, a member of the organising team at the event responded to the woman, saying: “You are the one who has a nerve, she already responded to you.”

Politicians are out in force at party events ahead of the May 28 local and regional elections, which will be held across Spain. A general election is also due to be held before the year’s end.  

The news that Montero and her partner, Podemos co-founder and former deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias, had purchased the home in Galapagar for around €600,000 caused huge controversy back in 2018.

Members of the party, which was born out of the 15-M protest movement, were uncomfortable with the move by the couple, while it gave the right-wing opposition parties plenty of ammunition to lay claims of hypocrisy at the couple’s door. 

At the time of the purchase, Iglesias was 39 and Montero 31. She was pregnant with twins. 

The property in question has an area of 250 square metres and was built on a 2,000 square metre lot with a swimming pool, according to press reports. 

At the time, clips of Iglesias previously criticising politicians who ‘go to live in houses and isolate themselves’ were widely shared. 

The house later became the target for far-right protestors. The harassment suffered by the couple, including press intrusion at their children’s nursery, was one of the reasons cited by Iglesias for his decision to step back from the frontline of politics in May 2021 after a poor showing in the Madrid regional elections that month.

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