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Spain's Podemos party re-elects Iglesias as leader, rejects move to the centre

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By Euronews
Spain's Podemos party re-elects Iglesias as leader, rejects move to the centre

The election for leadership of Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos has confirmed it is sticking to its leftist roots.

Members overwhelmingly reelected Pablo Iglesias, one of the movement’s founders as Secretary General.

They rejected the policies of his second-in-command, Inigo Errejon”:, who was pushing for a more moderate mainstream approach.

Iglesias, who got 89 percent of the vote, told his supporters: “This party congress has told us we should have unity and humility, and that is what we will have.”

“Change is still in the air and today Podemos is stronger and more mature,” Iglesias said.

Errejon moves down the party pecking order as a result of the vote.

Iglesias – a former adviser to Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez and who is close to the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – was criticised by Errejón for linking up with a group including Spain’s Communists and for failing to consolidating Podemos’ parliamentary influence and power.

The in-fighting over strategy had threatened to split Podemos which has ridden a wave of anger against austerity to become Spain’s third most powerful party.

Errejon wanted to lure voters from across the political spectrum and cast Podemos as the main opposition party after conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy secured a second term in office last October, but with a minority government.

However many of Podemos supporters are reluctant to see it move ideologically into the centre ground space occupied by the Socialists.