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Errejón speaks to the media
Errejón speaks to the media / EFE

Left-wing parties get ready to debate which direction to take

  • Podemos' leaders fail to agree on policies for forthcoming conference, while PSOE leadership candidates start to emerge before June vote

In an echo of what is happening in left-wing parties across Europe, Spain's Podemos and PSOE are both still locked in separate internal debates about their futures.

Podemos, which grew rapidly from a popular street movement to almost overtake the PSOE as the country's main party-of-the-left in recent elections, is due to hold a major party conference in mid-February. At this so-called 'Vistalegre II', it will vote on new leaders and policies.

Current leader, Pablo Iglesias, and his number two, Íñigo Errejón, have so far been unable to agree a common position for the conference, with Iglesias' supporters favouring a more confrontational organisation and closer ties with Izquierda Unida, and Errejón arguing for a more cautious, parliamentary approach. The support of a third group, representing the most anti-capitalist part of the party, could be key to who wins.

The disagreements are increasingly spilling out into public, bringing Podemos' first real crisis since it was formed. Speaking before further attempts to reach a deal on Wednesday, Errejón criticised Iglesias indirectly: "I think that agreements should be reached more sensitively," he said, adding, "Unity can't be reached by blowing a trumpet."

Meanwhile the PSOE has set its conference date for 17-18 June, when it will choose a new national leader. The traditional Socialist party is currently under a caretaker administration after the last leader, Pedro Sánchez , resigned last year rather than help the PP party into power. It is believed that Sánchez may stand again.

Former speaker of parliament, Patxi López, has already announced he will stand and many expect the regional president of Andalucía, Susana Díaz, to also be a candidate.