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Podemos promises Spain 'we can'

Friday, January 30, 2015 - 02:12

Podemos: Spanish for 'We Can.' But can Spain's left-wing alternative party do the same as Greece's Syriza and bring a radical new impetus to Spanish politics? It hopes a 'March for Change' in Madrid this weekend will demonstrate a growing support base. Kirsty Basset reports.

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This is Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain's newest political force, Podemos - the 'we can' party. Like Greece's Syriza party, it's campaigning on an anti-austerity, anti-establishment platform. Just as Syriza swept to power last weekend, Podemos is hoping for a similar result at elections expected at the end of the year. As in Greece, Spanish voters say there's more to vote against, than for. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FISHMONGER LUIS ALCARAZ SAYING: "Part of me says, 'yes', another part, 'no,' but I will support them, to get rid of the others." A recent poll showed growing support at 28 per cent, enough to take power. Rabobank's Jane Foley says the aftermath of the financial crisis has allowed the far left to flourish. (SOUNDBITE)(English) RABOBANK'S JANE FOLEY SAYING: "Of course with elevated unemployment levels, particularly elevated youth unemployment levels like in Spain then there is the risk that we have a degree of social discontent which can fuel movements such as the far left." Miguel Otera-Iglesias is a researcher at the Royal Elcano Institute in Madrid. He says Spanish voters will be watching closely to see how Syriza fares in Greece. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGUEL OTERO IGLESIAS, SENIOR RESEARCHER ROYAL ELCANO INSTITUTE, SAYING: "If Syriza does not manage to achieve many of the goals it set up, I guess people will say, 'Well you see Podemos all what you promised, you cannot deliver.' In the well-heeled neighbourhood of Salamanca, there is deep mistrust of Podemos. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy says Spain can't afford to back Podemos. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY SAYING: "Spain is not in a position to jump into a vacuum, we can't turn back, we cannot lose the ground gained, we cannot throw out the work and sacrifice we have made. I say more, we cannot gamble our future and our children's on frivolity, incompetence and populism, no we cannot." PODEMOS LEADERSHIP SINGING ALONG WITH SINGER STRUMMING HIS AND SINGING (Spanish) "Deep things change, the way we think changes, everything in this world changes, everything, everything changes." Change seems to be in the air in Europe. What Syriza manages to achieve - or not achieve over the next year may provide the biggest clue as to Podemos' fate.

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Podemos promises Spain 'we can'

Friday, January 30, 2015 - 02:12