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Podemos (Spanish political party)

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General SecretaryIone Belarra
SpokespersonIsabel Serra
Pablo Fernández Santos
FoundersPablo Iglesias Turrión
Íñigo Errejón
Carolina Bescansa
Teresa Rodríguez
Juan Carlos Monedero
Miguel Urbán
Founded16 January 2014 (2014-01-16)
HeadquartersCalle Zurita 21, 28012 Madrid
Think tankInstituto República y Democracia[1]
Youth wingRebeldía Joven
IdeologyLeft-wing populism[2][3][4]

Democratic socialism[10]
Political positionLeft-wing[11] to far-left[12]
National affiliation
European affiliationNow the People
European Parliament groupThe Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL
  •   Violet[a]
  •   Purple[b]
SloganSí se puede ("Yes, We Can")[13]
Congress of Deputies
4 / 350
0 / 265
European Parliament
2 / 61
Regional Parliaments
11 / 1,248
Regional Governments
1 / 19
Election symbol

Podemos (Spanish: [poˈðemos], translated in English as "We Can")[c] is a left-wing[14][15][16] to far-left[17][18][19] political party in Spain.[10]

Part of the anti-austerity movement in Spain, it was founded in January 2014[20][21] by the Spanish political scientist Pablo Iglesias Turrión and other academics in the aftermath of the 15-M Movement protests against inequality and corruption.[22]

In the 2014 European Parliament election in Spain, Podemos won 8.0% of the vote, and five seats out of 54.[23][24] The result of newly founded party received significant media attention, having outperformed the polls.[25][26][27][28][29][30] By October 2014, Podemos claimed it was the second largest political party in Spain by number of members after the People's Party.[31]

In the 2015 Spanish general elections, Podemos won 69 seats, becoming the country's third largest political force; 300,000 votes behind the main Spanish left-wing party, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party.

On 9 May 2016, Podemos formed the Unidos Podemos electoral alliance with the United Left, Equo, and regionalist left-wing parties.[32] In May 2018, the party joined Now the People.[33][34] After the fall of government talks with the PSOE after the April 2019 Spanish general election,[35] the November 2019 Spanish general election, in which the party and its allies won 12.9% of the vote and 35 seats in the Congress of Deputies, resulted in the Sánchez II Government through a coalition government between Podemos and the PSOE, the first multi-party cabinet in the Spanish democratic era.[36][37][38]


Background and foundation[edit]

Pablo Iglesias Turrión, former leader and founder of Podemos, pictured in May 2015

Podemos emerged from the Indignados movement against inequality and corruption in 2011.[39] The group was inspired by the populist leaders of Latin America's Pink tide, which included Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and Bolivia's Evo Morales.[40]

In January 2014, it released the manifesto Mover ficha: convertir la indignación en cambio político ("Move A Piece: Turn Indignation Into Political Change"),[41] which was signed by thirty intellectuals and personalities, including Juan Carlos Monedero, Alberto San Juan, associate professor of political science at the National University of Distance Education (UNED) Jaime Pastor, the writer and philosopher Santiago Alba Rico, the former leader of the Left Trade Union Current Cándido González Carnero and Bibiana Medialdea, associate professor of applied economy at the UCM.[42]

Podemos' manifesto stated that it was necessary to create a party list for the 2014 European Parliament election, with the goal of opposing the dominant policies of the European Union from the left. On 14 January, Pablo Iglesias Turrión, a professor of political science at the UCM and a TV presenter, was announced as the head of the movement.[41] The movement was organised by the party Anti-Capitalist Left (Izquierda Anticapitalista),[41] the Spanish section of the Trotskyist Fourth International,[43] which had written the Mover ficha manifesto.[44] One of the points highlighted by Iglesias was the derogation of the 135th article of the Constitution, which was made in 2011 by the major parties People's Party (PP) and Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE); full application of the 128th article of the constitution ("All wealth of the country in all its forms and no matter who owns it, is subordinated to the people's interest"); and maintaining abortion rights.[45] They also demanded Spain exit from NATO and support self-determination rights.[46]

The Podemos movement was officially launched on 16 January 2014 in the Teatro del Barrio in the Lavapiés neighbourhood of Madrid, with a press conference attended by hundreds of people. The speakers at the launch included Pablo Iglesias, Juan Carlos Monedero, Teresa Rodríguez,[47] psychiatrist and member of the Marea Blanca Ana Castaño, Íñigo Errejón and Miguel Urbán. The party's fundamental goal was to oppose the austerity policies of the government.[48]

In order to run in the European elections of 2014, the members of the bare bones of Podemos set themselves three conditions: to receive the support of at least 50,000 people; that both the programme and the lists of candidates be prepared through open participation; and that unity be sought with other parties and movements of the left,[48] such as United Left,[41] the Popular Unity Candidacy, the X Party, the Andalusian Workers' Union, Anova and the citizens' mareas ("tides").[46] The 50,000 signatures were obtained in less than 24 hours[49] and the Podemos website crashed due to the high traffic.

In August 2015, Podemos endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election. The party's international secretariat released a statement that "In Podemos we share Jeremy Corbyn's view that another Europe is not just possible but necessary". It added: "Against the irresponsibility of the troika and the Eurogroup, against the Europe of financial lobbies and puppet representatives, a new democratic and social Europe is emerging, and Jeremy Corbyn's victory would be a great step in that direction".[50]

2014 European Parliament election[edit]

In the 2014 European Parliament election in Spain on 25 May,[51] Podemos received 7.98% of the national vote, with 1,200,000 votes cast, electing five Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).[52] Iglesias chose Dina Bousselham to lead his cabinet of advisors as an MEP.[53]

El País described Pablo Iglesias Turrión as pessimistic about the outcome of the election: "We have lost these European elections. They have been won by the People's Party. We cannot be happy about this". He stated that his objective is to "move forward until we throw the PP and the PSOE out of power"[54] and that "[w]e will now work with other parties from the south of Europe to make it clear that we don't want to be a German colony".[54] Iglesias said Podemos MEPs would not take the standard MEP salary of more than 8,000 a month, stating that "not one of our MEPs will earn more than €1,930, an amount that's three times the minimum wage in Spain".[55]

First party congress[edit]

On 5 June 2014, Pablo Iglesias Turrión announced that the Asamblea Ciudadana "Sí se puede" (Citizens' Assembly "Yes, It Can Be Done") would take place in the autumn. Iglesias also announced that a team of twenty-five people would be responsible for preparing the assembly, to be chosen in open elections in which anybody could participate, with closed lists, with no limit to the number of lists which could be presented. The vote took place over the Internet on 12 and 13 June.[56] Two lists were presented, one headed by Iglesias[57] and the other promoted by the Círculo de Enfermería ("Nurses' circle").[58] The technical details of the election and the deadlines generated discussion within Podemos. In a meeting of Podemos circles which took place on 8 June in Madrid, there was criticism for both the closed lists and the short deadlines, which allegedly led to fewer lists being presented.[59] The electoral process in which 55,000 people participated gave the victory to Iglesias' list, with 86.8% of the vote.[60]

A major part of the citizens' assembly involved the writing of documents defining the political and organisational principles of the party as well as resolutions the party would adopt. Any member of Podemos could present a document and these would be adopted or rejected in a vote with all members of Podemos participating. These documents would determine the structure of the party. Internal elections would then take place, again with the participation of all members of Podemos, to fill the positions defined by this structure.[61]

The citizens' assembly held a meeting in Madrid on 18 and 19 October. On 19 October, Podemos membership was 130,000[62] and on 22 October it was 170,000.[63]

The citizens' assembly adopted five resolutions, all of which were submitted by circles, based on the votes of Podemos members, each of whom could vote for five resolutions. The approved resolutions were on improving public education (45%), on anti-corruption measures (42%), on the right to housing (38%), on improving public healthcare (31%) and on auditing and re-structuring the debt (23%).[64]

Podemos supporters in Madrid, 31 January 2015

The ethical, political and structure documents proposed by the "Claro que Podemos", which included Luis Alegre, Carolina Bescansa, Íñigo Errejón, Pablo Iglesias and Juan Carlos Monedero were approved by 80.7% of the vote, surpassing "Sumando Podemos" 12.3% of the vote, promoted by the MEPs Pablo Echenique, Teresa Rodríguez and Lola Sánchez in the vote for the structure document.[65][66]

2015 local elections[edit]

In October 2014, Podemos decided not to stand candidates in the 2015 Spanish local elections.[67] Instead, it decided that its members would support local grassroots candidacies, most notably Barcelona en Comú, the citizen platform led by anti-evictions activist Ada Colau in Barcelona and Ahora Madrid (led by ex judge Manuela Carmena) in Madrid.[citation needed]

2015 general election[edit]

In the lead up to the 2015 general election, Podemos adopted a pledge that, if the party won the election, it would hold a nationwide referendum on whether Spain should retain the Spanish monarchy or become a republic.[68] The party also promised to increase public spending and ban job cuts in profitable firms.[68]

At the 2015 general election on 20 December 2015, Podemos received 21% of the vote and became the third largest party in the parliament, with 69 out of 350 seats.[69][70]

Unidos Podemos[edit]

Following the failure of the 2015–2016 Spanish government formation negotiations to create a stable coalition government, on 2 May 2016 a second general election was called for June 2016.[71][72] To contest the election, Podemos formed an electoral alliance with United Left, Equo and regional left-wing parties, the official name being announced on 13 May 2016 as Unidos Podemos ("United We Can").[32] The coalition received 21.2% of the vote.[citation needed]


Podemos formed the Adelante Andalucía coalition with the left, the Greens and Primavera Andaluza to contest the 2018 Andalusian regional election.[73][74][75][76]


In April 2023, Podemos declined to join left-wing alliance with new party Sumar because of differences over how candidates are selected.[77] It was intended that these differences be resolved and negotiated on before Podemos would join the new alliance of left-wing parties for the upcoming general election scheduled for December 2023. Poor results for the ruling PSOE, Podemos and other left-wing parties in the Spanish local and regional elections held on 28 May 2023 led to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez calling for a snap general election, five months earlier than originally planned.[78] This resulted in a speeding up of the negotiation process with Sumar. On 9 June, Podemos came to an agreement to run together with Sumar at the upcoming general elections just hours before the deadline for the registration of coalitions with electoral authority.[79] Podemos immediately came into conflict with Sumar and its leader Yolanda Díaz over the inclusion of Podemos candidates on the electoral lists. The main point of conflict was the supposed veto of Díaz over the prominent Podemos politician and Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, wife of Podemos founder and former leader, Pablo Iglesias.[80] Montero was not to be included on the Sumar list for the Madrid constituency. This move was widely condemned by the leadership and supporters of Podemos, with former leader Iglesias calling it "a political mistake"' and asking Díaz to rectify it; he stated that he found it hard in the situation to separate "the personal from the political".[81] In addition, Podemos spokesperson in the Congress, Pablo Echenique, was also excluded from the lists.[82] Ione Belara, the General Secretary of Podemos, was placed fifth on the list for Madrid.[83] In the election, Podemos won five seats in the Congress of Deputies, out of 31 for Sumar in total.

On 5 December 2023, Podemos announced that they had broken with Sumar, and its five MPs moved from the Sumar group to the mixed group in Congress.[84]

Ideology and platform[edit]

A party on the left-wing[85] or the far-left of the political spectrum, Podemos has been described as a democratic socialist[10] and left-wing populist[86][87][3] party which holds anti-austerity,[88][89] anti-corruption,[22] and anti-establishment views.[90][91] It promotes direct democracy,[10] federalism,[8] patriotism,[92] republicanism,[5][6][93] and an alternative social democracy[94][95][96] to that of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) through populist rhetoric.[97][86][87]

Podemos presented a collaboratively written programme for the 2014 European Parliament election in Spain. Some of the most important policies were emphasis on public control, poverty reduction, and social dignity via a basic income for every adult, including lobbying controls and punitive measures against tax avoidance by large corporations and multinational organizations, as well as promotion of smaller enterprises. It also included revoking or curtailing the Treaty of Lisbon, abandoning the memorandum of understanding, withdrawing from some free trade agreements, and promoting referendums on any major constitutional reform. On environmentalism, it advocated reduction of fossil fuel consumption, promotion of public transport and renewable energy initiatives, reduction of industrial cash crop agriculture, and stimulating local food production by small and medium enterprises.[98]

Domestic politics[edit]

Podemos is opposed to the current parliamentary monarchy and wants to offer a referendum on its continuity,[68] instead advocating for a federal,[8] "plurinational" new republic.[6][93] Furthermore, the party is supportive of direct democracy.[10]

The party and its former leader (Pablo Iglesias Turrión) support the right to self-determination of autonomous communities like Catalonia and the Basque Country.[99] The party has called for the release of jailed Catalan separatist leaders on trial in Spain's Supreme Court.[100]

Podemos supported the exhumation of Francisco Franco.[101]

Social issues[edit]

Podemos has been described as a progressive party.[102][103][104][105][106] The party considers itself egalitarian,[107] secularist,[108] anti-racist,[109] anti-fascist[110] and environmentalist.[109]

The party is strongly feminist[111][109][112][113] and supports abortion being legal.[112] On the matter of prostitution, the party is split between abolitionists and those seeking to better regulate prostitution.[113][114] The party has advocated for feminism as a subject in schools.[111]

Podemos supports LGBT rights.[115][116] The party is responsible for the Ley Trans, a law focused on gender self-determination and trans rights that has created a rift in the government.[117]

Podemos supports the right to vote for immigrants, particularly Moroccans, as part of their "political rights",[118][119] and the party has called for the regularisation of over half a million of illegal immigrants.[120][121] According to Okdiario, Podemos "tries to revitalise its electoral expectations in a coveted voting camp: the immigrant one".[119]

Podemos supports legalising and regulating cannabis in Spain.[122][123][124] The party also supported the legalisation of euthanasia.[125]


Podemos opposes economic inequality.[126] The party wants to increase public spending and ban job cuts in profitable firms.[68] It supports redistributive fiscal policies[106][111][109] and a bigger welfare state.[102][106] Podemos is also critical of capitalism[127][128] and wants to regulate rental prices so they do not surpass 30% of mean income.[109] The party wants to increase the minimum wage.[105]

The party supports a universal basic income (UBI) for everyone over 18 years of age in Spain. In January 2023, the party proposed the amount be between €700 and €1,400 a month.[129]


The party is opposed to climate change and wants to create laws against "energetic poverty".[109]

Foreign policy[edit]

Podemos considers itself a pro-European party,[126][130] but has expressed displeasure with the current functioning of the European Union,[131][130] and has been described as taking a Eurosceptic stance by some sources.[132][133][134] However, others consider it to be a pro-European party and several academics have defined it as soft Eurosceptic.[135][136][137][138][139] Podemos has called for a renegotiation of austerity measures and seeks to curtail the Treaty of Lisbon.[98]

Podemos is a member of The Left in the European Parliament, where the Greek party Syriza is also found, and whose leader, Alexis Tsipras, has been supportive of Podemos.[140][141]

The party supports the withdrawal from NATO of Spain.[142][104] Podemos is also opposed to an increase in military spending.[106]

Podemos supports the right of self-determination for the Sahrawi people, seeking to establish high-level diplomatic relations between Spain and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and to expand the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara so that "it acquires competencies in the protection and promotion of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Sahrawi population".[143] Podemos reiterated its support for a referendum of self-determination after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez supported Morocco's autonomy proposal by presenting a motion in the Congress of Deputies together with ERC and EH Bildu that ended up being approved.[144]

The party was said to also have alleged ties to Bolivarian Venezuela and the Islamic Republic of Iran.[145][146] Said allegations have been since disproved. [147]


The support obtained by the new formation after the European elections in 2014 resulted in multiple analyses and reactions. While some sectors welcomed the results, there were also expressions of concern. Pedro Sanchez, Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) since July 2014, branded Podemos populist on numerous occasions at the beginning of his term[148] while much of its electorate opted for the new party.[149] The New York Times stated that "the party's 36-page campaign program reads like a wish list, with little detail about how it could be financed at a time when Spain is still struggling under a heavy debt burden".[150] Vicente Palacio of Fundación Alternativas said that Podemos could have "very beneficial effects in terms of regenerating the Spanish democratic system", but is in danger of going "toward populism and demagogy, as has happened in the case of Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement in Italy".[150][151][152]

The leader of Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) Rosa Díez said that similarities could be found with the Greek left-wing coalition Syriza, with the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo and even with the French right-wing National Front of Marine Le Pen.[153] The spokesman for the People's Party María Dolores de Cospedal said that poll results show a radicalisation of the left vote.[154] Esperanza Aguirre, another prominent member of the People's Party, accused Pablo Iglesias of "being with the Castrismo, with Chavismo and ETA", which Iglesias responded to statements described as "slander" and announced he would consider legal action.[155]

The leaders of Podemos also tried to distance themselves from the government of Venezuela following allegations of "murky" funding since many Podemos leaders were linked to Venezuela and other "revolutionary" governments in Latin America.[156][157] Consulting work by several party members, including Iglesias, in leftist Latin American governments earned their consulting organisation, Center for Political and Social Studies Foundation (CEPS Foundation), €3.5 million, which helped fund their television debates.[156][157] Juan Carlos Monedero, one of Podemos' founding members, received €425,000 for political consultancy work for Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua.[156] Podemos called for an external auditor to observe accounts from February 2014 to December 2014, which showed that the total income from both private donations and state subsidies was at about €947,000. Among the largest donors to the party were Podemos' own five MEPs, who donated €52,000 in 2014 from their salaries.[156]

Since March 2015, journalists have been critical of the relationship between the political party and the traditional media.[158] In March 2017, around a dozen Spanish journalists filed a complaint with the Madrid Press Association (APM), accusing Podemos of intimidating them because they published articles that were critical of the party.[159] The Economist magazine has described the party as far-left.[160]

Popular support[edit]

Opinion polling for 2015 general election which saw the rise of Podemos

According to GlobalPost, Podemos and other parties of the left have suddenly grown because of Europe's economic difficulties.[161] Unemployment, especially among young Spanish adults, has created a positive sentiment towards Podemos and their appeal to the unsatisfied youth of Spain with an "irreverent style".[161] Podemos also used its very well run social media presence to its benefit to find popularity.[161]

After it received the fourth highest number of votes in the European elections, news related to the growth of Podemos started to be published. The hashtag Pablo Iglesias was the number 1 trending topic on Twitter in Spain the day after the elections[162] and Iglesias appeared on the front page of prominent Spanish newspapers. Before the elections, Podemos was already the most popular political force within social networks, but it had increased from 100,000 to 600,000 "Likes" on Facebook between May and July 2014.[163] The CIS' quarterly survey, polling over July 2014 (two months after the elections) showed Podemos as the second most popular party regarding direct intention of vote, surpassing the PSOE, but being a 0.9% behind the PP.[164] In late July, Podemos started to allow individuals to sign up, with 32,000 people registering as members in the first 48 hours through Podemos' website for free.[165] In the first 20 days, Podemos already had about 100,000 members, becoming the third largest Spanish party by membership, surpassing United Left (IU), Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD), Convergence and Union (CiU) and Basque Nationalist Party (PNV/EAJ).[166] In August 2014, Podemos already had 442,000 more "Likes" on Facebook than the "Likes" of the rest of the parties combined, having 708,763, with more than 2.6 million views on its YouTube channel.[163] In September 2014, the interview of Iglesias in Viajando con Chester had almost 3 million watchers, being the most watched programme in its timeslot with 14.5% of the audience share.[167] In October 2014, Iglesias' participation in La Sexta Noche (in which he was also interviewed) rose the audience share of the programme to 16,2%, which is its historical maximum.[168] Iglesias' interview in Salvados also made the programme have its best ever audience, with a 23.8% and 5 million watchers.[169] In late October, Podemos had more than 200,000 members.[170] On 2 November 2014, El Pais published an opinion poll which gave Podemos 27.7% approval rating, compared to PSOE's 26.2% and PP's 20.7%; and gave Podemos a direct intention of vote of 22.2%, compared to PSOE's 13.1% and PP's 10.4%.[171] The party lost much support in the polls during the final months of 2015 when elections were approaching (sinking to 13%) whereas during the election campaign experienced a huge rise in support in the polls up to 20% of vote days before the election.[citation needed]

According to Politico Europe's Poll of Polls, Podemos has remained the fourth most popular party in Spain, since the November 2019 Spanish general election.[172] Podemos has polled, on average, at 11% by National Parliament voting intention.

Electoral performance[edit]

Cortes Generales[edit]

Cortes Generales
Election Congress Senate Leading candidate Status in legislature
Votes % No. Seats +/– Seats +/–
2015 With ECEEMEM
49 / 350
12 / 208
12 Pablo Iglesias Turrión Snap election
2016 Within Unidos Podemos
47 / 350
11 / 208
1 Opposition
Confidence and supply[173] (from June 2018)
Within Unidas Podemos
32 / 350
0 / 208
11 Snap election
Within Unidas Podemos
26 / 350
0 / 208
0 Coalition (PSOEUP)
2023 Within Sumar
5 / 350
0 / 208
0 Ione Belarra Confidence and supply

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election Leading candidate Vote % Score Seats +/–
2014 Pablo Iglesias Turrión 1,253,837 8.0% 4th
5 / 54
2019 María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop Within Unidas Podemos Cambiar Europa
3 / 54
2024 Irene Montero 571,902 3.3% 7th
2 / 61


Totals for Podemos in 2019 do not include elected seats from United Left (2) and Catalunya en Comú (1).

Regional parliaments[edit]

Region Election Votes % No. Seats Status in legislature
Andalusia 2022 Within PA
3 / 109
Aragon 2023 26,923 4.02% 6th
1 / 67
Asturias 2023 21,052 3.92% 5th
1 / 45
Confidence and supply
Balearic Islands 2023 Within UP
1 / 59
Basque Country 2024 23,679 2.23% 6th
0 / 75
No seats
Canary Islands 2023 Within USP
0 / 61
No seats
Cantabria 2023 Within UP
0 / 35
No seats
Castile and León 2022 Within UP
1 / 81
Castilla–La Mancha 2023 Within UP
0 / 33
No seats
Catalonia 2024 Did not contest
0 / 135
No seats
Extremadura 2023 Within UpE
2 / 65
Galicia 2024 3,854 0.26% 8th
0 / 75
No seats
La Rioja 2023 Within UP
0 / 33
Madrid 2023 Within UP
0 / 136
No seats
Murcia 2023 Within UP
1 / 45
Navarre 2023 Within CN
2 / 50
Valencian Community 2023 Within UP
0 / 99
No seats


Membership history[edit]

As of 2019, there are 523,000 members and 25,000 activists.[174]

Date Membership (approx.)
28 July 2014 0[175]
17 August 2014 100,000[175]
27 October 2014 200,000[170]
29 December 2014 300,000[176]
16 April 2016 400,000[176]
23 May 2018 500,000[176]

Regional branches[edit]

The party has regional branches for every single autonomous community in Spain. These include the following, among others:

Alliances and regional sections of the party[edit]




Balearic Islands[edit]

Basque Country[edit]



Valencian Community[edit]

European Union[edit]


  1. ^ since 2022
  2. ^ until 2022
  3. ^ In other languages of Spain, the name of Podemos is as follows:


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External links[edit]