Izquierda Unida has just lost one of its main assets in the Government, the leader of the Communist Party (PCE) and still Secretary of State for Agenda 2030, Enrique Santiago. The Minister of Social Rights and leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, decided last week his dismissal and his replacement by the organization secretary of his party, Lilith Verstrynge, which will materialize this week. impeachment joins that of Amanda Meyer, that, like Santiago, she is a leader of the IU –both are part of the Federal Coordination, the party's highest executive management body– and of the PCE, and that until June she was the chief of staff of the Minister of Equality and secretary of Acción de Acción de Government of Podemos, Irene Montero, who dispensed with her in the middle of the Andalusian campaign.
The two departures undermine the weight and power in the IU Executive, which, among the high positions, maintains within the Government its maximum leader, the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, and other leaders although of lesser political relevance. From the Ministry of Social Rights led by Belarra, as they did last month from Equality, they attribute the dismissals to "restructuring" in both departments and disassociate them from the confrontation within United We Can, between Podemos and IU, as a result of the negotiations to form Por Andalucía, the joint candidacy of the space to the left of the PSOE in the Andalusian elections on June 19, which crashed at the polls, achieving only five seats.
Dismissals have also occurred in full start of Sumar, the process of listening to the second vice president of the Government and also a member of the PCE, Yolanda Díaz. She has always made it clear that she will decide whether to present herself as a candidate for Moncloa once that process is over and that, at least during it, she does not want to give prominence to the parties but to civil society, which she has commissioned to prepare, in a year, of a new "social pact" that outlines a "country project" for the next ten years. Among those forces that Díaz wants to place in the background are Podemos, IU, En Comú Podem or Más País, among others. All of them already consider her a candidate for the general elections. And, given this scenario, they are taking positions and balancing their power in that space on the left in the face of the future weight they could have in the vice president's project.
On Saturday, in an interview on The country, Enrique Santiago explained that his dismissal was not expected "right now" although he acknowledged that he had already known about Belarra's "restructuring" plans "for a long time". Santiago did not want to link his departure with what happened in Andalusia, but he assured that the negotiations of the joint candidacy were not "forms" or "methods of working" and that "they wore out the political space" of United We Can. He also said that "they limited the ability to generate enthusiasm to start the Andalusian electoral process in good conditions." Until now, Secretary of State did not link his dismissal with his overwhelming support for Yolanda Díaz, manifested, for example, in the interview he gave to elDiario.es on July 17, despite the discomfort generated in Podemos by the fact that the vice president insists so much on disassociating herself from the parties that support her, the one led by Belarra being the one with the greatest territorial implantation and, above all, the most important electoral force in the United We Can group in Congress.
"In politicking they will never find me," answered Yolanda Díaz, for her part, on Thursday, during her trip to the US, when asked about the dismissal of the Secretary of State for Agenda 2030. "I wish Santiago the best of luck and I wish Belarra and her team the best of luck. You will never see me in matters unrelated to my vice-presidency tasks and my tasks of expanding democracy," he insisted, emphasizing this last idea that he already expressed in the first act of Sumar, before 5,000 people, and with which he seeks to bring democracy to the economy as well, to fight against inequality.
After months of reproaching their teams for problems that both parties attribute to a lack of communication, in recent weeks Díaz has also been trying to iron out rough edges with the Podemos leadership. He has intensified contacts with Belarra to maintain common positions within the Government in the negotiations with the PSOE at the end of the legislature, with an eye on the next Budgets, the new litmus test for the coalition at the turn of summer.
At the origin of the conflict between Podemos and IU, to which the dismissals of Enrique Santiago and Amanda Meyer are attributed within the space, is the convulsive process of negotiation of the creation of Por Andalucía, the failed brand of the Andalusian elections which was marked above all by the error and the consequences economic –mainly, access to subsidies– that finally meant that the alliance headed by Inma Nieto –from IU and supported by Yolanda Díaz– was registered without the name of Podemos when there were barely three minutes left before the deadline for presenting coalitions. This meant that the name of Belarra's party could not appear on the Por Andalucía ballot and was something for which the two parties blamed each other.
IU is the force of the space with a greater territorial implantation in Andalusia and, putting in value that supremacy, it was the one that was in charge of organizing the electoral campaign and the one that, with the support of Díaz, imposed its candidate against that of Podemos, Deputy Juan Antonio Delgado, who was the one who won the party's primaries in the community. The main reflection that was made after the debacle by the Belarra team was that people did not know that Podemos was appearing in Por Andalucía and that there was a confusion of the electorate with Adelante Andalucía, the other candidacy to the left of the PSOE headed by Teresa Rodríguez, expelled from United We Can for her criticism of the coalition government.
The leadership of Podemos confessed its "impotence" in the face of the result, considering that IU did not let them participate in the campaign despite their experience and their means, which, at the state level, are greater than those of the party headed by Garzón. Belarra's management regretted that its audiovisual team was prevented from working – which would have allowed, for example, to broadcast more rallies via streaming – or that the IU did not allow the party's most visible leader, the Minister of Education, to participate. Equality, Irene Montero, until the day before the day of reflection.
Despite the image of unity that tried to be conveyed during the contest –Ione Belarra and Alberto Garzón shared the stage with Yolanda Díaz, who also coincided with Íñigo Errejón, leader of Más País–, in reality the friction between Podemos and IU continued. At Montero's request, the Council of Ministers approved on the first Tuesday of the campaign the dismissal of Amanda Meyer as director of the cabinet of the Minister of Equality. The Ministry ruled out political motives and pointed out that Meyer's dismissal was due to "a change of stage" after Congress's support for the 'only yes is yes' law, which is still awaiting final approval. "Amanda has been fundamental and essential in the team of the Ministry of Equality and in all the legislative projects that she has promoted," said the department led by Irene Montero.
Meyer, a member of the Executive of the United Left as a member dedicated to the Confederal Table and also a leader of the PCE, was replaced by Lidia Rubio, a member of the Citizen Council of Podemos and until that moment responsible for communication of the minister. In the team led by Montero, high-ranking officials of these formations remain, such as the director of the Women's Institute, Toni Morillas, leader of the PCE and in charge of Feminism at IU Andalucía, and Clara Alonso, director of Communication at the Ministry and head of Gender Equality. IU federal address, reports Marta Borraz.
Leaders of the confederal space outside of Podemos considered that Meyer's dismissal was due to a kind of "settling of accounts" by Belarra's party for what happened in Andalusia, an explanation that they now also apply to the dismissal of Enrique Santiago, to which they add their unconditional support for Yolanda Díaz.