Pablo Iglesias closed his tenth round of electoral campaigns in six years this Friday in Euskadi. Some of them seemed like the last one he would do as the leader of the party that broke out in 2014 to turn the Spanish political board inside out. But the double act in Amorebieta and Durango in which he has accompanied the candidate to lehendakari Elkarrekin Podemos-IU, Miren Gorrotxategi, did so as vice-president of the first coalition government since the Second Republic. This situation, as real as it is still surprising even for many of his people, has set the tone and the message with which the Podemos general secretary has addressed the Basque and Galician voters, whom, accompanied by the Minister of Labor , Yolanda Díaz and, as a last minute incorporation, from the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, tries to recover for Galicia en Común with a message that is basically very similar to that of recent years, but with a difference that insists on emphasizing: ” Now the promises do not speak, the facts speak. ”
The double electoral appointment on Sunday is undoubtedly defined by the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2. To the point that both were scheduled for April and had to be postponed. Iñigo Urkullu, first, and Alberto Núñez-Feijóo, always lagging behind the Basque, opted to resume the process as soon as possible, as soon as the health situation was fairly controlled. Not entirely, as confirmed by the major outbreaks in A Mariña (Lugo) and Ordizia (Gipuzkoa), where Unidas Podemos had planned the closure of the campaign.
Both outbreaks have been the only disruptive elements in a campaign that has developed far from the outbreak, with little media presence and less public. With small acts, far from the electoral epic that, always depending on the candidate and her companions, is recurrent in these sets. For this reason, Iglesias explained in his speeches, both regional presidents made the decision to convene as soon as possible, in a gesture that, according to the vice president, would confirm their intelligence.
The sooner the better for your options. Even if it’s under the shock of the pandemic. Because things have already changed. And they can continue to change. At the state and regional level. That’s him late motiv of the Pablo Iglesias campaign in Euskadi and Galicia. And that is why he is asking “a second chance” to the voters who once trusted them in both historic communities. Both, to place them first and second, respectively, in the general elections of December 2015, trace (almost) the result in the repeat of June 2016 and achieve the desired sorpasso in the autonomous regions of September of that year.
United We can arrives at this double electoral appointment in completely different conditions to those of four years ago. Then, despite the June skid, they were the third force in Congress, they ruled in the main mayoralties of Spain and they had important representation in the autonomous parliaments. Today they have half of deputies (and voting) at the state level, they are outside some territorial chambers and, of the so-called “cities of change”, Barcelona, Cádiz and Valencia remain. But now they are in the Government. With four ministries, all of them involved in the two campaigns, with Colau occupying the common the site of the independent Manuel Castells.
That brief but intense experience of Government is the letter of introduction of Iglesias and the other first swords of the political space before the voters. “The response to the crisis and the historical majority for the investiture reveal that, although we are not as strong as four years ago, we have been able to resist and show that some things could change,” he said in Bilbao on June 6 in an act in which he participated with the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón.
Two days later, in A Coruña, he repeated the slogan. In an act with Gómez-Reino, he remembered the 2012 campaign, in which a candidacy mounted to the race between the United Esquerda led by a young Yolanda Díaz and the Anova led by veteran Xosé Manuel Beiras, achieved third place. In that campaign eight years ago Pablo Iglesias was behind the scenes, advising Alternativa Galega de Esquerdas (AGE). There, the friendship he had with the current Minister of Labor was consolidated and turned into loyalty, say those who know them, unwavering.
The health, economic and social situation has forced candidates to lower their interventions in various shades. And to ignore certain classic elements of the campaigns, such as the relentless attack on rivals. It is not that now beautiful things are said, but ugly things are hidden more.
This has allowed Iglesias to delve into something that he had been doing for a long time, including the two campaigns of 2019, but, above all, since the brilliant post-10N government agreement: show his more institutional and reflective profile, reminiscent of the conferences that he still gives from time to time in university forums. Pablo Iglesias is no longer the rebel who unnerved the masses at Puerta del Sol with an almost rapped speech in which he reviewed the popular national uprisings from 1808 to the present. Nor does it paraphrase Karl Marx of the Paris Commune and his assault on heaven. That screen is already past. “I have a dystopian feeling. I don’t get the conventional meeting, I get to reflect on what is happening,” he said this week.
But with another tone and another look, asking for forgiveness for the mistakes made and remembering all the people with whom he shares the stage, Iglesias maintains an impugnant and commoner message. That which he likes to call “the unmasking of many truths.” And again, as in the double electoral appointment of 2019, with a speech that emphasizes the “police and media sewers”, but with a new distribution thanks to the latest controversies caused by the everlasting confrontation that Churches maintains with a large part of the press, especially Madrid.
However, there are differences with what happened a year ago. And they are not minor. In fact, it may be the reverse of what happened then. In Podemos they quickly understood that a mess was being organized again when the judge investigating the political, police and media framework of former commissioner José Manuel Villarejo turned the DINA piece, which investigates the theft and cloning of the content of a former collaborator’s mobile of the leader of Unidas Podemos that ended up published in several headings, to convert it in a kind of Pablo Iglesias case.
He is the same magistrate and the same case in the same court as a year ago, but the investigation looks at those who, then, appeared as the victims. With everything and with that, the strategists of Podemos have found how to use it as a lever. “If they think that they weaken us, it is that they don’t know us,” he said sarcastically in A Coruña with Antón Gómez-Reino.
The underlying thesis is a “they cannot bear us” that, according to the ideologues of the campaign, among which the secretary-general is evidently, leads those who consider their enemies to make mistakes. In this case, for example, turning media manipulation against Podemos into a national debate. No matter how the dispute is resolved, the mere fact that it is discussed is already a triumph, they consider.
The attacks, whether just or excessive, also connect with the leit motiv. Why do they want United We can outside the Government despite having 35 deputies (half that in 2016) and, as Iglesias ironically in Bilbao, “being subordinate and phagoctiated” by the PSOE? Why the “ferocity of the attacks”? The answer was given by himself: “A year ago few could imagine that Alberto Garzón was a minister, that a 31-year-old woman was the Minister of Equality and promoted the law of the only yes is yes. Or that a defender of workers like Yolanda Díaz was going to be Minister of Labor, and Manuel Castells, Minister. The Pigtails, vice president. No one imagined that. ”
“Why so much attack?”, Iglesias asks again now: “Because the presence [en el Gobierno] It shows a lot and some do not accept it. They did what is not written to burst us and prevent us from being there. Now they are going to do what is not written to get us out. ”
At this point, the speeches change depending on where he is. In the Basque Country, for example, she places her candidate, Miren Gorrotxategi, as a possible intermediary between the PSE and EH Bildu for an unlikely tripartite that, today, no one assumes in public. Or the material impossibility of a Budget pact that includes Citizens. A party that always quotes for remember Albert Rivera that he had his chance and let it slip away. And what to face according to which “powers” does not come free.
And if the idea is to try to recover the spirit of change of the triennium 2014-2016, try to show that, even with difficulties, things can be different and that they are now proving it “with irreversible changes, such as the rise of the SMI or the start of the repeal of the labor reform “, the appearance of Ada Colau for the closing of the campaign for the Galician elections is the icing on the cake. The mayoress of Barcelona, who literally carried the cry of “yes, you can” from the human barriers that tried to stop the evictions to the Mayor of the second city in the country, also knows how to read the moments. Also the deputy and secretary of the Table of the Congress Gerardo Pisarello. They come to the aid of their allies and also to soak up the good karma that Yolanda Díaz has right now after her management at the head of Labor. October is here for the Catalan elections and there the political space will also stake a good part of its future. The ballot boxes will pass sentence.