Spain’s labour minister Yolanda Díaz has captured the spotlight. She’s crowding-out venues with her ‘citizens’ dialogues’, preaching a message of Left unity. However, reports from Spanish media suggest that Díaz is really striking out with her own political project, exploiting far-left infighting in a move that will ultimately prop up Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
Díaz is one of the most popular members of the current Spanish government. Voted in on the ticket of the far-left Unidas-Podemos electoral alliance, she became labour minister when they entered government as the smaller coalition partner of Sánchez’s centre-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).
However, media outlet ECD now reports that a purge is being prepared by Díaz and Prime Minister Sánchez against government officials associated with her Unidas-Podemos comrade, Equality Minister Irene Montero. The manoeuvre is intended to isolate her, using the controversy surrounding Montero and her ‘Only Yes is Yes’ law—a feminist law that backfired, freeing many imprisoned rapists—to create distance.
Díaz’s intention to disassociate herself from Podemos has also been reflected in her new project, a political platform called ‘Sumar’. Through Sumar, Díaz has been proactively courting other smaller, regional leftist parties in the run-up to Spain’s regional elections in May. The intention was also apparent in Sumar’s launch event last autumn, when important figures from Podemos were notably not invited.
While Díaz takes advantage of widening fissures in Unidas-Podemos, it ultimately looks like the end result of her political project will be to prop up the continued government of Sánchez and the PSOE.
Posts on social media show Díaz apologising to the 1,000 people she had to turn away from her dialogue in Murcia last Saturday, February 25th. She proceeded to declare that her political project, Sumar, “is going to be the big surprise of the year 2023.” More tellingly, she touted it as “the guarantee of the progressive coalition for the next decade.”
Díaz has been coy in announcing her candidacy for Prime Minister, but she will no doubt be a figure to watch in the run-up to this year’s general election.