August 10, 2022

Spanish Labor Minister launches new political movement

Published on: Amended:

Madrid (AFP) – Spain’s popular Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz on Friday launched a new left-wing political movement ahead of general elections scheduled for the end of 2023, promising a new way of doing politics.

Diaz said she would go on a national listening tour to gather ideas about what people want for the country, then decide whether to take part in future polls with her at the helm.

“In this citizens’ movement, I am just one more piece. You are the protagonists and if you wish, I will intervene,” she told a crowd of around 5,000 people gathered in a center Madrid culture.

Diaz said the new movement called “Sumar,” which means “to add” in Spanish, would seek “a new social contract” and work to end the politics of “confrontation.”

Politics should be about “reaching out and then being able to reach agreements that change people’s lives”, she added.

Diaz currently represents the far-left Podemos party, the junior partner in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s minority coalition government.

Polls consistently indicate that she is Spain’s most popular politician.

As labor minister, she was responsible for a recent labor reform that is credited with a sharp drop in the number of temporary work contracts.

She also oversaw a generous furlough scheme at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which guaranteed people an income even when large parts of the economy were shut down due to shutdowns.

The launch of the new political movement comes as the Socialists and Podemos have fallen in the polls, with Spain battered by high inflation, as is the case across Europe.

The main conservative opposition party, the People’s Party (PP), has overtaken the Socialists as the most popular party in Spain, according to a poll published Monday in the daily El Pais.

The PP, which in April chose a new moderate leader, had 27.4% support, ahead of the Socialist at 26.3%.

Podemos was in fourth place, behind the far-right Vox party.

Last month, the PP secured a landslide victory in a regional election in Andalusia, winning an absolute majority of seats in the former socialist stronghold.

He will now govern alone for the first time the southern region, the most populated in Spain.