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Iglesias trusts that top aide’s departure will not take votes away from Podemos

Juan Carlos Monedero invokes desire to find his own voice again rather than be a “cog”

El líder de Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, durante una protesta de técnicos de Telefónica
El líder de Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, durante una protesta de técnicos de Telefónica

The leader of Podemos, Spain’s self-styled anti-corruption party, trusts that the resignation of one of its co-founders will not affect their chances of success at upcoming local and regional elections.

“We will keep working to win,” said Pablo Iglesias, speaking in Madrid on Friday at a protest that coincided with the May Day holiday.

The 15-month-old party has managed to rise to the top of voter intention on a strong message of change. But Podemos is facing its first internal crisis with the resignation of Juan Carlos Monedero, who was one of the party’s leaders, on Thursday.

We knew this was going to be hard, that the powerful would never allow us to push them out without resorting to a thousand tricks”

Juan Carlos Monedero

After the announcement, Iglesias sent party followers a letter explaining some of the circumstances of Monedero’s resignation.

“We had been discussing for months the hardship he was going through due to his position in Podemos’ leadership,” he wrote. “Change requires many people playing very different roles, and Juan Carlos and I concluded long ago that he is not a party man, and that his place is where it always was: as a moral and intellectual point of reference for those who dream of a more fair society.”

Before walking out, Monedero accused Podemos of starting to resemble the established parties that it criticizes so much, and called for a return to its origins.

Monedero said that he would rather break free from the party chains.

“I feel like getting my own voice back, rather than remaining a cog in the party’s wheels,” he said.

Juan Carlos Monedero says he wants to find his own voice again.
Juan Carlos Monedero says he wants to find his own voice again. EFE

But despite his disagreement with the direction the party is taking, Monedero said he will stay with Podemos at street level. In a letter published on his blog, he stated that “Pablo is, besides a beautiful part of my biography, the secretary general of the party with which I will keep on fighting.

“We knew this was going to be hard, that we would have to deal with a lot of lies, that the powerful would never allow us to push them out of government without resorting to a thousand tricks,” he added.

Iglesias also insisted on their good relations. “Over the last year, nobody has suffered the consequences of their selfless commitment the way Juan Carlos Monedero has, and we will always be indebted to him. Our journey together is not over.”

Some sectors in the party believe that Monedero was allowed to fall by the top leadership following a tax scandal

But despite the friendship that both men still profess to share, some sectors in the party believe that Monedero was allowed to fall by the top leadership following a tax scandal he got caught up in.

Monedero had been out of the limelight in recent months following revelations that he failed to pay taxes on €425,000 that he allegedly made from advisory work for the governments of Venezuela and other Latin American nations. He is also suspected of having used irregular invoicing to collect the money.

At the time, Monedero accused Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro of trying to intimidate him through the tax inspection. He also rejected claims that the money was used to illegally fund Podemos.

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