Spanish left-wing bloc Sumar to unite all progressive forces to stop the right
The recently established left-wing platform Sumar aspires to unite all progressive forces in the Spanish political arena, in a move to prevent a future coalition of centre-right PP and far-right Vox after the general election in the Iberian country, to be held in December.
But Sumar has a “secret weapon” to compete in the race: Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz (currently under the Unidas Podemos/GUE-NGL umbrella), who, according to Spanish media, wants to announce her official candidacy with the junior party in March.
Diaz has been very active, participating in several political rallies in the final stretch of a tour across Spain to present Sumar’s political programme.
Díaz’s decision to come forward with her candidacy, and perhaps abandoning the ranks of Unidas-Podemos, could be a decisive factor in boosting the chances of a united left-wing block, including Unidas Podemos and the socialist party (PSOE/S&D), ahead of the new election cycle in the country.
Municipal elections will be held in May, a vote many analysts view as the first stress test for socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s ruling coalition with Unidas Podemos.
General elections will be held in December when Spain is in the final month of its Council presidency, which starts on 1 July for six months.
Left-wing fresh alternative to ‘exhausted’ PSOE-PP formula
“We are having a bad time, but we are much better off than when they (right-wing Popular Party/EPP) managed the previous crisis”, Díaz stressed in a Sumar rally held Saturday (25 February) in Murcia (southeast).
She defended the need for more political alternatives than the traditional PSOE and PP. The two-party system, she stated, “is a failed form of politics that they (both parties) want to resurrect, and that does not solve the problems”.
She criticised the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, for boasting about his government’s experience “without saying that when the PP was in power the unemployment rate in Spain stood at 27%, the youth unemployment rate was 56%, that they bailed out the banks (in 2008/9) and handed over to Europe a labour reform that impoverished the working class in an extremely aggressive way”.
“He (Nuñez Feijóo) does not want to revalue pensions or raise the minimum wage, but he is already worried about Sumar, which is going to be the big surprise of 2023, and he is worried because he knows what happens to PP leaders when they don’t win elections,” she said.
She insisted Sumar is the guarantee for a progressive coalition government for the next ten years, the time she believes is needed to tackle the changes Spain needs.
But Díaz is not only focused on Spain, the progressive formation has a clear vision of what needs to be done to stop the war in Ukraine and avoid escalating the conflict.
And as she, and Unidas Podemos, have reiterated recently, the answer is not stepping up the shipments of tanks and other European offensive arms to the battered Eastern country.
Freeze defence spending; boost EU’s military autonomy
“European citizens should not and cannot rely forever on American security guarantees. It needs, we need, an independent reading of the world,” she stressed in an Op-Ed published by Le Grand Continent.
“As long as we depend on the United States for our security, we will not have the autonomy to decide and organise our own role vis-à-vis, for example, China (…)”, she stressed.
“We need to shift these responsibilities from an unstable NATO to a European security space subject to democratic control. To do this, we do not need more defence spending, but more coordinated spending, shared procurement and investment schemes”, the Minister added in the article.
Big coalition with heterogeneous left-wing forces?
In Díaz’s mind, may be a union of all Spanish left-wing progressive forces, including centre-left PSOE, to prevent a future Government of the PP and Vox, which many experts predict if the centre-right party does not obtain a clear victory in the election to govern alone.
Vox is currently the third force in the Spanish Parliament and governs together with the PP in the Castilla and León region, a formula that could be replicated at the national level.
The Spanish left-wing camp and the PSOE have warned several times about the many “dangers” that such a politically conservative duo could pose for citizens’ rights and freedoms, but the possibility of a coalition is on the table.
Sumar’s “preventive response” to that may be a left-wing “Grosse Koalition” with very heterogeneous progressive forces, from centre-left PSOE to post-communist Izquierda Unida (United Left) and Más País (More Country) or Compromís (regional left-wing party in Valencia), among other possible combinations.
As a campaign motto, Sumar proposes to put citizens at the centre of all political actions and make them aware that a different way of making politics is possible.
“We have to treat with respect the citizens who are suffering so much after the pandemic and now with the effects of the war in Ukraine. Politics is about building trust. Noise takes people away from it. And then they (politicians) wonder why citizens are not interested in it (politics) (…)”, she warned.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)