Contrary to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s assurances, ‘the nightmare is not over’ for Spain, according to Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias.
Translating as ‘We Can’, the new leftist Podemos movement gave an alternative ‘state-of-the-nation’ speech on Wednesday (February 25), led by Pablo Iglesias.
‘Yes, we can’ chanted the crowds in Madrid as the head of the anti-austerity party took to the stage.
Iglesias challenged the claims the conservative prime minister had made a day earlier and invited him to take part in a television debate.
“Austerity has not helped leave the crisis behind,” said Iglesias. “It has not helped save the three main problems Spaniards have: unemployment, debt and inequality. The three of them have increased. It is not only about how much people have been harmed. It is just inefficient, Mr Rajoy, your government has proved to be useless, and I say it with respect.”
In parliament on Tuesday (February 24), Rajoy pointed to growth of 1.4 percent in 2014.
However, Iglesias says many of the newly-created jobs are low-skilled, low-paid and temporary – which economists and unions agree presents long-term dangers.
Currently unrepresented in parliament, Podemos will face its first electoral test on March 22, when Andalucia – the nation’s largest region – votes in a regional election. Local and regional elections will take place elsewhere in Spain in May, with general elections slated for the end of 2015.