With New Vision for Europe, Rising Podemos Threatens to Upend Establishment

Spain’s Podemos party, which in recent years rose to prominence on a defiant anti-austerity platform, has overtaken one of the nation’s two leading political powerhouses and is threatening to unseat the conservative establishment in Sunday’s general election.

Polls on Monday suggest that the populist party successfully has shattered the era of two-party dominance, besting the Socialist Party (PSOE) 25 to 21.2 percent, while the ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) still leads with 30.7 percent.

“We are very close to defeating the Popular Party in the elections,” Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias declared. “We are very close. And they are very worried about it for what it means.”

Indeed, Spain’s conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed as much during a campaign stop Monday, telling supporters, “Radicalism and extremism can only be stopped by a coalition of people behind the Popular Party.” To block the rise of Podemos, Rajoy called on “all moderate, sensible and balanced voters to unite” by casting their vote Sunday.

The latest poll by research website Electograph reflects a four percent increase in support for the outsider movement since December’s election, during which Podemos secured 69 parliament seats. That upset effectively fractured the majority, forcing the king of Spain to dissolve parliament and hold another vote.

While the various parties have been jockeying to form coalitions, Podemos “has boosted its support by striking a deal with the United Left, once part of the Communist party,” Euronews explains, forming the ascendant Unidos Podemos coalition.