16th June 2024
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Yolanda Díaz: ‘I want to be the first female president of my country’

Spain’s popular Labour Minister, Yolanda Díaz, announced on Sunday that she wants to be first female president of Spain, at an official launch of her election bid at the helm of the new political movement, ‘Sumar’.

Opinion polls consistently show Díaz, a lifelong member of the Communist party and currently deputy prime minister in the coalition government led by Pedro Sánchez of the socialists (PSOE) and left-wing Podemos group, as Spain’s most popular politician.

She has recently been trying to unite all the left-wing parties under one banner ahead of a tight year-end general election which will determine if the Sánchez can remain in office.

In July 2022 Díaz launched a new political movement called Sumar (meaning ‘to add’) and which she hopes will eventually include all parties to the left of Sánchez’s socialists.

She announced on Sunday that Sumar will take part in the next general election with her at the helm.

Díaz has the support of smaller formations such as the United Left (IU) and Más País, but has run into hostility from Podemos which has until now led the space to the left of the PSOE. The Podemos group, however, has also been losing support and members.

Largely unknown three years ago, the 51-year-old Díaz was thrust into the political spotlight in January 2020 when she entered the government as a representative of Podemos. Former Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias then quit politics in May 2021 following a regional election drubbing, and he nominated Díaz to take over his post as deputy prime minister even though she is not a member of his party.

Iglesias, one of the founders of the party which has 35 seats in Spain’s 350-seat parliament, has since accused ‘many sectors’ inside the far-left to seek ‘to do a lot of damage’ to Podemos, during an interview Monday with radio RAC1.

Díaz, who is known as a good negotiator, frequently argues that to ‘win a country, we need everyone’.

Podemos had made its participation in ‘Sumar’ and Sunday’s rally conditional on a prior agreement guaranteeing the organisation of open primaries to designate the candidates of this platform in the general elections, which should take place in December.

The left-wing group fears heavy losses in local and regional elections of 28 May which would reduce its influence on the political scene.

But faced with Díaz’s refusal to meet their conditions, Podemos decided to boycott the rally, giving the image of an isolated party.

Several of its members, however, made the trip individually, illustrating the divisions within the party itself.

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