Yolanda Díaz takes the reins of a left in transition

When Yolanda Díaz was entrusted with the task of assuming the leadership of the Spanish left and of being a candidate for the Presidency of the Government in the next general elections, her answer was far from being a resounding ‘yes’. People who know her well knew that the decision-making process was going to be long and that her question about her political future would not be resolved until the end.

One of his closest friends, former senator Jose Garcia Buitron (who passed away in September), expressed a reflection on this matter almost two years ago: “When she was positioned as a candidate for United We Can, I had the feeling that I was not going to be well received by her from the point of view of the designation; that repels him and, of course, ends up generating doubts. So the key is, how does this woman resolve the doubt? How does she herself resolve this debate that she is having? I think she has resolved it, that she is going to say yes because he is a committed person”. However, Buitrón also warned that if she encountered many complications in the process, she “can kick the cauldron.”

The moment has arrived and Díaz has not kicked the cauldron. The former senator’s bet has been fulfilled, and this Sunday the Minister of Labor is expected to reveal her political future and announce that she will choose to be a candidate for Prime Minister in the next general elections.

Nine months ago the vice president took a stage at Matadero Madrid and began a journey that, in part, will end at the Magariños sports center (in the same city). During this time, Diaz and her team have traveled more than 20,000 kilometers and have staged events in 20 different cities to make sense of the so-called listening process that they launched to reconnect citizens with politics.

In Sumar they are clear that the project does not end with the definition of an electoral option, but that it goes far beyond the general ones and that it intends to be useful during the next decade. But they are also clear that the election is a fundamental factor in a context of political battle between a progressive bloc and a bloc conquered culturally in a broad way by the extreme right.

Díaz candidate and leader of the left

The definition of the Yolanda Díaz candidate is also the assumption of her figure as the leader of a left that is immersed in a transition process. Like the rest of the elements of the process, the leadership of the left is also something that the vice president has been taking in small sips and with apparent doubts. Expand your horizons beyond the Ministry of Laborfirst, and the coalition government, later, has caused a series of difficulties that have to do with “getting into politics.”

Díaz went from focusing on a listening process that he claimed to be far from partisan battles and organization, to sitting down to negotiate (since January) with the political formations of the so-called transforming left to articulate a confluence. The meetings with sectors, social groups and experts led to negotiations on electoral lists, candidacies, acronyms and programs.

From the listening process, the Galician leader took 19 notebooks (according to Sumar) full of notes to build and articulate a “new social contract for the 21st century”, her first (non-electoral) promise. The balance of what she gets from the negotiations with the parties is yet to be resolved but, for now, she makes clear the reconstruction of the bridges that were dynamited in recent years between different organizations and the promise of future unity, but also their distancing from what in recent times has been the main force of the transformative left: Podemos.

Around fifteen organizations (and their militants), the main unions in the country, social groups and two of the great families of the European left (the Greens and the European Left Party) are expected to support Díaz in front of thousands of people. And the absence of the main leaders of Podemos is also expected, after the purple formation and Sumar did not reach an agreement for the general elections before the act (a condition that those of Belarra put to attend it).

This Saturday, the party gathered its State Citizen Council (A conclave planned to prepare the municipal and regional elections, and scheduled before knowing that the act of the vice president would take place on Sunday). There a debate took place in which some of the regional coordinators were present, who in less than two months go to the polls; a debate in which, among other things, it was a matter of glimpsing an answer on the eventual cost of not attending Díaz’s event when the vice president does not plan to carry out an intense campaign for the forces and coalitions of the transformative left (except in some cases).

An electoral shock for 28M

On the one hand, not going to the event means losing the opportunity to get hooked on the electoral shock that the vice president potentially deploys among the most progressive electorate; especially if one takes into account that the candidates of other options that compete with Podemos will be present in May (such as Más Madrid or Compromís, among others).

On the other, the fact that Díaz does not plan to throw himself fully into the campaign (among other factors, precisely because of the issue of the 28M competition between forces that aspire to go together to the general elections under his leadership) makes the launch of his candidacy in a kind of first (and in some cases the only) pre-election act with the vice president as a leading figure.

The main leaders of Podemos and Izquierda Unida (which also met its Federal Coordinator this Saturday to analyze the route from the takeoff of Sumar to 28M) made separate appeals; Alberto Garzón to Ione Belarra, to attend the event and close the circle of unity on the left around Díaz, beyond a negotiation to come together in the general elections that will not end, in principle, until the summer.

And Ione Belarra to Yolanda Díaz, to assume the condition of holding open primaries agreed in a bilateral negotiation between Podemos and Sumar (without the concurrence of the rest of the parties that aspire to be part of the coalition for the generals). He also asked him to campaign “together” for Unidas Podemos in the municipal and autonomous communities in the presence of some of the territorial coordinators of his party (and the attentive gaze of all the others, even if they were not on the Council), something that the purple formation I haven’t asked the vice president for months.

In any case, if this Saturday goes down in history for something, it will not be because of a last-minute agreement and on the horn between Díaz and Belarra; Not even for one last try. By late afternoon neither party was in agreement even as to whose turn it was to pick up the phone to call the other. In the end, the fact that Saturday is not a historic day gives Sunday the opportunity to shine.

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