“That is precisely what this new stage of Podemos is about, of being humble, being aware of what we can change from the institutions and the Government and what we still cannot.” This is how the newly elected secretary general of Podemos, Ione Belarra, in his first speech before the State Citizen Council (CCE) of Podemos, the highest body of the party that emerged from the recent IV Assembly. Belarra has recognized “frustration”, both among citizens and among themselves, because “there are changes that take longer than it would be necessary.” But he has assured that his party will not “renounce any of the measures” signed with the PSOE or “any” of its objectives. For this, he said, it is essential that “We can lead the Government” and have “a strong and organized civil society.”
Belarra appoints Lilith Verstrynge as secretary of the Podemos Organization
This Friday the CCE meets for the first time, which must approve the composition of the Coordination Council, the executive of the party. As advanced by elDiario.es, the Head of Organization will be Lilith Verstrynge. In her first speech, broadcast openly, Belarra has defined as the horizon of her mandate that United We can be “the force that leads the Government” after the elections scheduled for 2023. To achieve this, the Secretary General has demanded “humility” from the theirs before the certainty that their arrival to the Executive, in 2020, has not served to face all the changes that they consider necessary.
“We are aware of the feeling of frustration among citizens due to the fact that things change so slowly,” he said in his 20-minute speech. “We also feel it because many essential proposals end up decaffeinated or others drag their feet to avoid complying with the Government agreement,” he pointed out, referring to the majority sodium of the Government, the PSOE.
In this regard, Belarra has reiterated the commitment of the main party of the United We Can coalition to “continue using all” its “strength to enforce each letter of the government agreement.” “Each and every one of the measures that we undertook to implement,” he said, citing some of them such as the repeal of the labor reform (“as Vice President Yolanda Díaz has said”), of the gag law , regulate rents and “stop evictions without a housing alternative”; an LGTBI law and a trans law, “that the SMI is more like others in Europe” or “so that the minimum income reaches all households that need it”, among other commitments.
Achieving these objectives, in addition to negotiating General Budgets for 2022 that “guarantee the expansionary path”, is more difficult due to the “correlation of forces” that exists right now. Hence, Belarra has demanded “humility” to recognize something that, on the other hand, Iglesias has already expressed in the past. “Being in government does not mean having power,” he said, to give as an example the main leaders of “Endesa, Naturgy or Iberdrola” who “have more power than a deputy and a minister to determine the price of electricity. “. For this reason, he reiterated, one of the missions is “to explain what it means [la actual] correlation of forces, what can be achieved and the progress that will require Podemos to be stronger than today. ”
Regarding the rise in the electricity bill, Belarra has been blunt: “We accept criticism and recognize that, with the strength we have, facing the oligopoly is being complicated, and lowering the bill is being very difficult.” “But we will continue working tirelessly,” he has promised.
That “humility” will be the main characteristic of the “new stage” that opens in Podemos, he assured. But if anyone thinks that Belarra is censoring Pablo Iglesias, the secretary general has made it clear in her speech when she referred to the “most profound act of humility in recent history.” “Never before Pablo Iglesias had a political official left the Vice Presidency to confront the right and the extreme right in regional elections, nor had he stepped aside from the conviction that other people could contribute more to the project than himself.
Three challenges for Podemos until 2023
Those imminent negotiations with the PSOE are the first of the three main tasks that Belarra has indicated for the new stage. The minister of Social Rights has also warned of a “long and difficult negotiation” to agree on the General Budgets for 2022, despite the fact that it seems unlikely that Pedro Sánchez could try to put Citizens into the equation again, as he did last year.
Thus, the Government will have to choose, in principle, to reissue the parliamentary majority of the accounts of this 2021. Belarra has also pointed out that this “state leadership bloc”, made up mainly of nationalist and independentist forces, but also regionalist forces, is “a condition for the possibility of social and democratic progress in Spain.”
The second challenge is to strengthen the organization itself. Podemos has shown great weakness outside the state level in recent years. With an eye on the regional and municipal elections of 2023, Belarra has asked “each and every member of this State Citizen Council, the circles, the militancy and all those registered and registered of Podemos” to “put” organization ready “. “We have to work very hard every day to realize the objective with which this political direction was born: to grow. To grow in each city and in each town, continue to root ourselves and add people in the territories,” he stated.
The secretary general has defended unity with IU and with the rest of the allied forces, such as En Comú Podem. “It will be essential to take care of the alliance with our comrades from the United Left and with the territorial sister forces, a strategic alliance that must be possible in each town and in each city. Because we know that, to achieve many of the transformations it needs our country, United We Can has to be much stronger“, has settled.
The ultimate goal, the third of the challenges, “will be to be the force that leads the Government.” And for this, he pointed out, “it is essential to be in many more places: in social movements, in labor conflicts, communicating, creating popular radios and televisions, thinking, weaving alliances with other forces and movements at the international level.” Belarra has appealed that “each member of Podemos be also a social activist and a communicator.” “It has to train and train other people, it has to promote debates and transform its closest reality,” he said.