Poll: New Spanish party closing in on competitors

AP News
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Posted: Nov 05, 2014 9:51 AM

MADRID (AP) — Spain's recently formed leftist party Podemos is closing in on the mainstream Socialist opposition party and the ruling conservatives, a government-run poll indicated Wednesday.

The CIS poll found that if elections were held tomorrow, 22.5 percent of voters would choose Podemos (We Can), against 23.9 for the Socialists and 27.5 percent for the governing Popular Party.

The poll of 2,480 adults had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

In a similar poll in July, Podemos garnered 15.3 percent, the Socialists 21.2 percent and the Popular Party 30 percent.

General elections will be held in 2015.

Led by pony-tailed political science Professor Pablo Iglesias, Podemos was founded in January and grew out of widespread grass-roots protests in 2011 against corruption and economic cutbacks brought in during the financial crisis.

The party won five seats in May's European Parliament elections, the party's first.

Spain is recovering from two recessions, the last of which ended in late 2013. The economy has expanded in each of the past four quarters, but the unemployment rate was still at a whopping 23.7 percent in the third quarter.

The Podemos party says it aims to topple the country*s predominantly two-party system.

While it has been short on detail, the party says it favors possibly changing the way Spain's debt is paid off; nationalizing strategic sectors such as energy, transport and telecommunications; setting a maximum wage for all employees; and removing politicians' immunity from prosecution. Those policies already have triggered criticism from other parties and in the media.