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PODEMOS (Political party, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: podemos |
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Flag of PODEMOS - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 10 September 2016

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Presentation of PODEMOS

PODEMOS (in Spanish, "We Can"; website) was founded on 17 January 2014 in Madrid and officially registered on 11 March 2014 with the Ministry of the Interior.
Chaired by Pablo Iglesias (b. 1978), the party rejects any placement on a traditional left-right scale, since one of its aims is too refound democracy and get rid of the bipartite system dominated by the PSOE and the PP. However, its political and economical agenda is of clear leftist orientation. Quite surprized by the party's electoral breakthrough, its opponents, especially the conservative parties and media, have accused PODEMOS to be of Castrist and Chavist inspiration and to back up ETA. The media generally label PODEMOS as "populist"; specialists in political science, however, have warned about the polysemic meaning of the word "populism", which is widely and lazily used to group grass-root organizations (that is, all new, non-conventional parties) that share little ideological similarity, if any.

PODEMOS' first unexpected success occurred in the 2014 election for the European Parliament; the party obtained more than one million votes (8%), gaining 5 out of the 54 seats allocated to Spain. Following this, the party's increased its media cover and organized from 15 September to 15 November 2014 its Constituent Assembly, the Citizen's Assembly "Sí Se Puede". The Assembly ended with the election of Pablo iglesias as the Secretary General of PODEMOS. The party soon presented its program and organized on 31 January 2015 in Madrid a big street demonstration, the March for Change.

PODEMOS achieved a major breakthrough in the regional elections organized in the autonomous communities on 24 May 2015 - except in Andalusia, 22 March 2015, and Catalonia, 27 September 2015. PODEMOS gained seats in all regions, obtaining its best results in Aragón (20.5%, 14 out of 67 sieges), Asturias (19%, 9/45), and the Community of Madrid (18.6%, 27/129).
In the municipal elections held at the same period, PODEMOS did not present its own candidates but set up alliances with local parties. This resulted in the election of the so-called PODEMOS Mayors, often after alliance with other parties, in several big towns of the country. Manuela Carmona (Ahora Madrid) was elected Mayor of Madrid with the support of the PSOE, defeating Esperanza Aguirre (PP), one of the most virulent opponents to PODEMOS. Ada Colau (Barcelona in Común) was elected Mayor of Barcelona with the absolute majority. Pedro Santisteve (Zaragoza en Común) was elected Mayor of Saragossa with the support of the PSOE and Chunta Argonesista. José María González Santos "Kichi" (Por Cádiz Sí Se Puede) was elected Mayor of Cádiz with the support of the PSOE and Ganemos Cádiz. Xulio Ferrero (Marea Atlántica) was elected Mayor of A Coruñ:a with the support of the PSOE and the BNG.

In the general elections held on 20 December 2015, PODEMOS was the 4th most voted party in the country. It obtained 12.7% of the votes and 42 out of the 350 Representatives, and 11.3% of the votes and 9 out of the 208 Senators. Approached by the PSOE, PODEMOS reject all offer of alliance to form a government.
Following the dissolution of the Parliament on 2 May 2016, new general elections were scheduled on 26 June 2016. Unidos Podemos, the coalition of PODEMOS, IU and Equo, obtained 13.4% of the votes and 45 Representatives. PODEMOS and its leftist allies obtained together 21.1% of the votes (71 Representatives). This was a failure for PODEMOS, who could not obtain more votes than the PSOE and marginalize it, as Syriza had done with the PASOK in Greece.
[Le Monde, 27 June 2016]

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2016


The flag of PODEMOS (photo, photo, photo) is purple - with significant colour variations, from dark red to dark purple - with the party's name written horizontally in the middle, in white capital letters, the first "O" being substituted by the party's emblem.
A seemingly less used version of the flag (photo) has the emblem in the middle and the party's name beneath it, the upper part of the flag being charged with the party's motto “SÍ SE PUEDE”, the straight translation in Spanish of Obama's motto, "Yes We Can".

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2016

Emblem of PODEMOS


Emblem of PODEMOS - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 10 September 2016

The emblem of PODEMOS is made of three interlaced white circles placed on a purple background.
Sarah Bienzobas, in charge of the graphic image of the party, explained that the circles represent the organization of the party: "The groups supporting the party in different places are called 'circles'. Reflecting this name in the logo is a kind of tribute to people who made PODEMOS feasible. The logo provides a point of convergence between the brand and the organization."
The Statutes of PODEMOS prescribe the circles as group of people sharing common interest and with an independent organization, while being submitted to the Citizen's Assembly, the highest decisional organ of the party. Circles are of two kinds, the territorial circles - ascribed to a given territory -, and sectorial circles, ascribed to a program area or a professional category.
Pablo Iglesias defines the circles as "a point and network for unity, change and democratic rupture [...] A citizen's space for unity, to supersede the obsolete regime and change an Europe that is at the service of a privileged minority."

The emblem was designed by Sarah Bienzobas, Andrés Barragán and Alejandro Cerezo, on the model of the emblem designed by the design agency Remitente, from Chicago, for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, a circle inscribing a sun over a field in the colours of the national flag, aimed at evoking, according to its designers, "a new feeling of hope".
Bienzobas stated that the purple colour was not intended to recall any historical period that favoured this colours, especially the Second Republic.
[ABC, 11 May 2015]

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2016