Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s chances of getting reelected after the 23 July general election, announced by surprise last week, have received a potentially important boost following an agreement between more than a dozen small left-wing parties to run on a joint ticket, a deal that is expected to provide key support for Sánchez’s PSOE socialists in any post-election negotiations to form government.
Importantly, Spain’s left-wing Podemos group, the current junior coalition partner in the socialist-led government of Sánchez, also voted to run in next month’s election with the Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz’s new Sumar party. It was confirmed on Friday just hours before the expiry of a deadline for all parties to register.
Podemos and 14 other groups will form part of the Sumar alliance for the election. Sumar, which means to add or unite in Spanish, was also officially registered on Friday as a political group to compete in the election.
‘Thanks to everybody!’ Sumar tweeted. ‘With this agreement we show that our country can be better. Sumar is stronger with all of you. We go out to win with hope and illusion because we know the country we want.’
Sánchez announced the 23 July general election, following his socialist party’s disastrous results in the 28 May local and regional elections. Sánchez had struck a deal in 2019 to form Spain’s first coalition government with Podemos, at the time led by Pablo Iglesias.
The fragmentation of parties to the left of the socialists was blamed for many of the regional and local election losses on 28 May.
The deal signed late Friday ended days of intense negotiations. From Sumar’s perspective, one of the main sticking points in the talks with Podemos had been the role the candidacy of current Equality Minister Irene Montero, and one of the party’s best-known figures.
An outspoken hardliner who has often courted controversy, Montero has faced bitter criticism in recent months, notably over her flagship rape law that paradoxically let some offenders reduce their sentences.
On Friday, Podemos party members had endorsed with 93% of their votes that the party should negotiate an agreement with Sumar ahead of the 23 July election.
‘We will run in the general elections with Sumar,’ Belarra confirmed on Friday, but she had also stressed that there should be no ‘vetoes’ to Montero. She had said Podemos would not accept any veto against ‘a comrade who has pushed the feminist transformation further than anyone else before’, describing her as their ‘biggest asset’.
Some Díaz allies did not want Montero on the list, however, and in the end, she was left out.
Diaz announced plans last year to unify all of the parties to the left of the PSOE in the new Sumar platform. Podemos, however, which was created as an anti-austerity party during Spain’s financial crisis a decade ago – had been holding out until now. ALSO READ: Spain’s labour minister Yolanda Díaz launches new political movement, ‘Sumar’.
A unified left-wing is essential for Sánchez to have any chance of re-election, according to all the polls in Spain.
A likely outcome of the election is that a unified left-wing will prevent the right-wing People’s Party (PP) and the far-right Vox from forming a coalition government, producing a hung parliament. It might also mean another election after the 23 July vote.
A poll of polls by El Pais found that if Sumar and Podemos run on separate tickets they would win 26 seats and 3 seats respectively while a unified platform would get them 41 seats in the 350-seat parliament. A party or grouping needs 176 to form a government.
Traslado las conclusiones del Consejo de Coordinación de Podemos sobre el acuerdo de unidad electoral con Sumar. https://t.co/SesEaug0W5— Ione Belarra (@ionebelarra) June 9, 2023
¡Gracias a todos y todas!— Sumar (@sumar) June 10, 2023
Con este acuerdo demostramos que nuestro país puede ser mejor. Sumar es más fuerte con todas vosotras.
Salimos a ganar con esperanza e ilusión porque sabemos el país que queremos.
Contamos contigo 💕 pic.twitter.com/ZD6LzK7Wcw