AFTER SOME tense negotiations, a new leftist bloc called Sumar (Unite) was submitted to electoral authorities on Friday just hours before a deadline to register coalitions expired. 

Among the parties that have signed up with the group is Podemos, a far-left party that currently forms part of Spain’s coalition government. 

Sumar was officially founded by Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister and Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz back in April, but was first floated by the communist politician around a year ago. 

The aim of the new group is for the constituent parties to attract more votes by running together than apart, at an upcoming general election on July 23 where the conservative Popular Party and far-right Vox are expected to make major gains.

Other parties who have joined Sumar include United Left, which is Spain’s communist party, Mas Madrid and Mas Pais, which splintered off from Podemos, and green groups such as Greens Equo. 

But despite the agreement with Podemos, there is still one issue to be resolved: the fate of the party’s politician Irene Montero. 

One of the conditions that Diaz is reported to have laid down for the inclusion of Podemos within Sumar was a veto on Montero’s inclusion. As equality minister, Montero has lost a huge amount of political capital, not least due to the ‘only yes means yes’ legislation. 

Yolanda Diaz Participates In A Rally In Malaga, Spain 22 May 2023
Sumar founder Yolanda Diaz in a file photo from May 2023. Credit Image: © Jesus Merida/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

That law, which was sponsored by the Equality Ministry, was aimed at putting consent at the heart of sexual assault cases. But by changing sentencing for sex offences, it had the unforeseen consequence of reducing prison terms for convicted sex offenders and in some cases securing their early release from jail. The political fallout from that controversy has been hugely damaging for Podemos and in particular for Montero.

While Montero has so far been excluded from Sumar, all is not lost. While the deadline to register parties ahead of the July 23 snap election expired on Friday, there is still a week or so to go before the candidate lists must be finalised and registered. 

Podemos leader Ione Belarra sent a letter to grassroots members of Podemos on Friday explaining that she will continue to negotiate with Yolanda Díaz in a bid to get Montero onto the party lists. 

One of the co-founders of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, is Montero’s partner and the father of her three children. After serving as deputy prime minister in the current Socialist Party-Unidas Podemos coalition government, he bowed out of politics and is now working in the media. 

On Monday, he made a public call for Diaz to rectify and include Montero on the electoral lists, claiming that to do otherwise would damage Sumar at the polls. 

“There are still eight days to go,” he said in comments reported by Europa Press. “I know that there are a lot of voices close to Diaz who are saying to her, ‘You’ve gone too far’,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the electoral lists for Sumar are being shaped by Yolanda Diaz. On Monday, it emerged that the current Spanish ambassador to the United Nations, Agustin Santos Maraver, will run as the number two candidate after Diaz. 

The deputy prime minister made the announcement herself on Twitter, saying: “The defence of multilateralism, human rights and the global fight against climate change are key for Sumar.”

Read more:

Subscribe to the Olive Press

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.