In the European Parliament elections, 2014, in Spain, two parties joined the EUL/NGL group: Izquierda Unida and Podemos. In recent polls for the Spanish general election, 2015, Podemos has risen sharply in the polls, perhaps stimulated by the success of SYRIZA in Greece.

Many countries in Europe have a single party in the EUL/NGL group, often a party with roots in eurocommunism or socialism. Although programs differ, they appear to have in common that they are to the left of the mainstream social-democrats (who are frequently in government), but have themselves not been part of any government on the national level. They might benefit electorally if the social-democrats are perceived by their traditional basis to compromise too far from their traditional policies. Some examples are Die Linke in Germany, Socialistische Partij in The Netherlands, Vänsterpartiet in Sweden — and Izquierda Unida in Spain.

It surprises me that the new progressive movement in Spain appears not to benefit Izquierda Unida, but rather the new startup Podemos. What are some significant programmatic differences between the two? Or is the virtual electoral success rather due to style and the perception of the people involved?

  • 2
    For some strange reason, investigating this, all I could think of "Judean People's Front? ... We're the People's Front of Judea!"
    – user4012
    Feb 5, 2015 at 18:24
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    @DVK Communists, conservative protestants, islamists, but also nationalists/conservatives or fascists, all seem to share the property that the more radical they are, the more likely they are to split on small details. In this case, though, I suspect the differences are not so much programmatic, but rather in style — IU arising from the old communists and traditional proletarians, Podemos from young unemployed who get bored when a marxist tells them but you are the proletariat, read Marx!.
    – gerrit
    Feb 5, 2015 at 18:30
  • the latter definitely sounds reasonable as an explanation.
    – user4012
    Feb 5, 2015 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


Pragmatically speaking:

Izquierda Unida (IU) was founded demanding the exit of Spain from NATO in 1986. Although, Spain stayed in NATO, IU got almost 7 millions of votes. They defined themselves as a multi-ideological movement, founded in justice, solidarity and equality; they're anti-capitalist and republicans, criticizing many times most economics decisions of Podemos; one of the main objectives is to achieve the professionalization of all the members of the movement, meaning the political class. They're supporting local governments such as Susana Díaz and José Monago for "ideological" reasons"; both politics are affected with charges of corruption but still the IU is supporting and this is one reason why they're losing lots of local support. The relation between the media and the IU has been practically irrelevant; they called at silence after some corruption scandals, such as previously mentioned.

Podemos is a political party born after the publication of the manifest "Mover ficha: convertir la indignación en cambio político" the January 13th, 2014; in the manifest they expressed the need to create a space for a candidature with the objective of oppose to all European Union's political economy for the economic crisis; the way to achieve this is instrumentalizing the power for the citizen. "We're not from left nor rigth" said once Pablo Iglesias, which most analysts think they're trying to be more pragmatic and less ideological, even if they have a sort of "social propaganda". Podemos didn't support Susana Diaz and José Monago in their respective cases. With the media, Podemos has a lot of participation in television (we're talking more than 30 hours) and specially in the social networks such as Twitter, where Pablo Iglesias was trending topic in Spain after the elections days.


All the parts signed with strong are the differences found about both political organizations.


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