14th June 2024
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Yolanda Díaz resigns as head of left-wing Sumar group

Yolanda Díaz, number three in Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s government, resigned on Monday as head of the government’s left-wing junior coalition partner Sumar, following a weak showing in the EU election which in Spain was won by the right. ALSO READ: Spain’s PP beat PSOE in European elections, as far-right make big gains across EU.

‘I have decided to leave my role as head of Sumar,’ Díaz said of the left-wing alliance. She will however retain her position as labour minister and one of Sánchez’s deputy prime ministers

Her remarks came a day after she voted in elections for the European Parliament (main image), which in Spain were won by the right-wing opposition People’s Party (PP).

‘The elections have been like a mirror. People aren’t wrong when they vote or when they chose not to vote. It is always our responsibility and in this case, mine. The people have spoken and I am taking it into account,’ said the 53-year-old.

‘Sometimes it is necessary to take a step aside to take a step forward,’ Díaz also wrote on X (formerly Twitter).’ I firmly believe in the power of politics and its ability to deliver good news to those who need us most. You will always find me there.’

She said there needed to be ‘a debate’ about the leadership within Sumar (‘Unite’), which she set up in July 2022 as an umbrella group for all parties to the left of Sánchez’s PSOE socialists. ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz reach PSOE-Sumar coalition deal.

Spain’s left-wing parties won five seats in Sunday’s elections, down from six in the previous vote in 2019. Of the five, three were won by Sumar and two by Podemos, its rival and a former partner in Sánchez’s coalition.

Although initially aligned, the two groups fell out after Sumar refused to let then Equality Minister Irene Montero, a lead figure in Podemos, to run on its list for last July’s general elections.

In Sunday’s vote, the opposition PP won 22 of Spain’s 61 seats in the European Parliament, followed by the socialists who secured 20 seats. In 2019, the socialists had won a decisive victory with 21 seats compared to 13 for the PP.

In his victory speech, PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo said voters had handed them the victory they were waiting for, putting Spain ‘on the cusp of a new political cycle’.

Sunday’s vote also saw the far-right make a strong showing, with Vox coming third with six seats, up from four seats in 2019.

And a new far-right faction called Se Acabó la Fiesta (‘The Party’s Over’) made a surprise debut winning three seats, trailing Sumar by barely 11,000 votes.

Sunday’s vote came almost a year after Spain’s inconclusive July election.

Although the PP came first, it didn’t have the parliamentary support to form a government, leaving the way open for Sánchez. He mustered a majority with the backing of left-wing and regional parties, including the Catalan pro-independence parties.

ALSO READ: Yolanda Díaz: ‘I want to be the first female president of my country’.

ALSO READ: Spain’s labour minister Yolanda Díaz launches new political movement, ‘Sumar’.

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