The unexpected crisis of Podem, which has exploded on the edge of the beginning of the political course and has resulted in the departure of the second vice president of the Valencian Executive, Rubén Martínez Dalmau, already has signs of being channeled without too much cost for the Pacte del Botànic, the agreement Among the purple ones, PSPV-PSOE and Compromís, which has supported a progressive autonomous government since 2015 after two decades of right-wing hegemony. The undisguised internal disagreements between Martínez Dalmau, responsible for housing policies, and the secretary general and parliamentary spokesman Pilar Lima have ended the patience of the vice president, who has chosen to return to his post as university professor.
Martínez Dalmau confirmed on Tuesday that his successor will be Héctor Illueca, current director of the Labor and Social Security Inspection. “The party will not have any problem, on the contrary they will be very satisfied,” he said in reference to a substitute that he has proposed himself and that has always been part of the sector. Pabloite scored by Pilar Lima. The vice president has given President Ximo Puig the management “of the times” although he has assured that his departure “is not an urgent decision but it is firm.”
Puig, who has encountered a crisis caused by internal battles of his Podemos partners right on the return to the political course and against the background of the management of European funds for economic recovery, has told Onda Cero that he will hold meetings with Martínez Dalmau and with Lima, with whom he faces a meeting with “the best will to cooperate and consolidate cohesion and political stability.”
The Valencian president was comfortable with Martínez Dalmau in contrast to the more aggressive tone of the sector limista, which was committed to marking a more radical profile by Podem in the Valencian Government. Not in vain, the morados dispute the political space to the left of the socialists with Compromís, the formation led by Mónica Oltra and which has established itself as a Valencian reference in an alliance with other federalizing options such as errejonism. While Compromís’ inner life has not been a boat ride either, his battles have been far more peaceful compared to those of his purple allies.
In addition, Martínez Dalmau never considered the possibility of entering the internal life of the party, which has leaned towards the Pabloism of Madrid dyes after winning the candidate Pilar Lima in the last primary process. A direct consequence was the purge of the parliamentary spokesperson Naiara Davo and the constant confrontations between the limistas and the vice president of Podemos. In fact, on Pilar Lima’s Twitter account it is very difficult to find a photo in which she appears with Martínez Dalmau (the image that illustrates this information is one of the few, posted months ago).
The unexpected crisis of Podem has peppered the already complicated coexistence between partners (especially between the PSPV-PSOE and Compromís) with a generalized feeling among the three forces of the Valencian left of “regrettable spectacle”, an expression that has been repeated by several leaders these days. The Lima leadership has chosen to remain silent and discuss the departure of the vice president at a meeting of the regional executive. The Valencian Citizen Council of the party will endorse, according to several sources, the appointment of Illueca, who is leaving a post in the central government that suited him like a glove as a labor inspector and an expert in the field.
His landing in the Housing department will mean an inevitable transition with respect to Martínez Dalmau’s team. President Ximo Puig has cleared, after several days of speculation from both sides, the possibility of a deeper reshaping of his government and even Podem’s role in the Pacte del Botànic.
“The conditions are the same, my will and I believe that Compromís’ is also to keep this team as cohesive as possible, thinking about the general interest of the citizens,” said Puig, who had been informed for weeks of the intention of his vice president second to throw in the towel. The Valencian president has claimed the “maximum loyalty” among the partners although he has specified that it must be “round trip”. Martínez Dalmau, for his part, has assured that his sudden departure responds to the need to “open a new stage and consolidate housing policies after having consolidated a cycle in this first part of the legislature.” The calm, then, seems to return to the Botànic.
Succession of internal battles
The congenital instability of the Valencian purple formation has claimed the last head after a long string of resignations, abandonments and fights. Few front-line leaders have survived the busy internal life of the party that sought to storm the skies.
Antonio Montiel, the first parliamentary spokesman in the Valencian Corts and secretary general (when Podem gave external support to the first Pacte del Botànic from Parliament), returned to his position as secretary of the city council. Sandra Mínguez, secretary for the organization of training, returned to her post as a teacher of secondary education. Antonio Estañ, parliamentary spokesman and secretary general after contesting primaries with Pilar Lima and Fabiola Meco (Montiel’s ally and representative of the sector most closely linked to Íñigo Errejón), is detached from front-line institutional politics. Naiara Davo, the former parliamentary spokesperson, was dismissed by the Pilar Lima sector in a controversial internal process. Àngela Ballester, leader of the first stage and former deputy in Congress, also left the department of Martínez Dalmau and remains a base affiliate in Podem.
“What has happened is that there have been from the beginning two or more cultures and political traditions, even generational ones,” says one of the leaders who has stayed on the road. “There has been a group of very young people in a hurry who lacked previous political experience, much less management, who has not matured with the organization,” he adds. Another leader highlights Podem’s double dialogue: the vice president, with a more fluid relationship with Puig, and Pilar Lima, more critical and pressing from the left. Both versions of the purples hardly ever matched. “Each one had a different line,” concludes one of the victims of the internal battles.
“What I learned is that internal battles are like that, it’s like when you play football, you have to know how to shoot,” adds one of the sources consulted.