Big anti-corruption protest in Madrid, Spain

This video says about itself:

Spain: ‘History is changing’ – Thousands of Podemos supporters back Rajoy no-confidence motion

20 May 2017

Thousands of Podemos party supporters gathered in central Madrid, Saturday, to back a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

From Jacobin magazine in the USA:


Back to the Streets

A conversation with Eoghan Gilmartin, Brais Fernández, Jaime Pastor

Podemos has called a mass demonstration against the Rajoy government today as the party adopts a more combative approach.

It has been a dramatic few weeks in Spanish politics. Days after Easter, the former head of the Madrid regional government, Ignacio González, was arrested on corruption charges. This in turn led to a major internal crisis in the ruling Popular Party (PP) which saw the resignation of the party’s historic leader in the Spanish capital Esperanza Aguirre.

A polarizing figure, who was seen as the “Spanish Thatcher,” Aguirre’s position as head of the PP on the Madrid council was no longer tenable. With the regional party she had headed for over a decade already caught up in an investigation into illegal campaign financing, the arrest of her former right-hand man Gonzalez was the final straw.

Meanwhile, Mariano Rajoy, the country’s Prime Minster, has now been called as a witness in one of the largest corruption cases in recent Spanish history, the so-called Gurtel plot, which has seen a number of key former PP officials charged, including the party’s former treasurer Luis Bárcenas.

In this context Unidos Podemos has chosen to take the exceptional step of bringing a motion of censure against Rajoy’s government, only the third such motion since Spain’s transition to democracy. While it has little chance of passing in parliament given the centre-left Socialist Party’s (PSOE) opposition, it has robbed PSOE of the political initiative in a week in which they are holding internal leadership elections.

The PSOE leadership race is largely seen as a choice between former leader Pedro Sánchez and the establishment-backed Susana Díaz. Since his enforced resignation in November Sánchez has turned to the left, adopting Podemos’ proposals in a range of areas, while Diaz, who was instrumental in his ousting, has clung to the political center.

To ensure the focus remains firmly on the motion of censure, Podemos has called for a massive mobilization of their supporters in Madrid’s historic Puerta del Sol on Saturday. … As party leader Pablo Iglesias recently put it “we are hoping for a certain level of coherency from PSOE. The motion of censure is an ethical imperative” aimed against “the most corrupt party in Europe.”

This is also the first test of Podemos’ new strategic line after the party’s recent congress. Iglesias’ victory over his former deputy leader Íñigo Errejón has allowed him to pursue a more conflictual and left-wing direction, focusing on polarizing the political space along populist lines and seeking closer ties with social movements.

At last an article which uses the word ‘populist’ in a way consistent with it leftist 19th century United States origins; not as an euphemism for racist parties like Marine Le Pen‘s in France.

From an Associated Press report in the Irish Independent:

Sunday 21 May 2017

Protesters in Spain call for ousting of premier Mariano Rajoy

Thousands rallied in Madrid on Saturday to support a no-confidence vote against conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy brought by the far-left Podemos party.

Podemos organised the gathering to bolster its no-confidence vote against Mr Rajoy‘s ruling Popular Party, which has been hit by a series of corruption scandals.

The rally under the slogan “We have to throw them out” was held in the Puerta del Sol, a large square in the heart of Spain’s capital.

Many protesters held signs that read “Enough!” or “Corruption!”

Podemos registered its intention on Friday to bring the no-confidence vote to Parliament.

The move includes presenting the party’s pony-tailed leader, Pablo Iglesias, as an alternative candidate to replace Mr Rajoy.

No date has been set for the no-confidence vote but the move appears designed to fail.

With only 71 members in parliament, Podemos would need help from other parties to reach the majority needed of 176.

No other major party says it will back the move to topple Mr Rajoy.

Speaking at a Podemos party congress before the rally, Mr Iglesias admitted that “the no-confidence vote won’t prosper”.

But hours later, Mr Iglesias struck a defiant tone at the rally, calling the Popular Party “a mafia-like party“.

“The people are not afraid. They are telling the corrupted to ‘get lost, we want a Spain of the 21st century,” Mr Iglesias said.

“This country is better than its parliament and we are showing the way to the future.”

Mr Rajoy has been dragged into the most damaging of corruption cases involving the Popular Party, an alleged kickbacks-for-contracts scheme to finance party activities.

Spain’s National Court has called Mr Rajoy as a witness in the case.

Like his party, Mr Rajoy has denied any wrongdoing.

He has asked to appear for the court hearing via video conference in July.

On Monday, Podemos will present a motion to hold a separate no-confidence vote against Madrid’s regional leader, Cristina Cifuentes, for another corruption investigation involving the Popular Party.

Podemos was founded in 2014, partly channeling the “Indignados” protest movement of 2011 that protested the impact of Spain’s financial woes during the European financial crisis.

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