• Spain's news in English
Dreadlock row divides old politics from new in Spain
Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious / Flickr

Dreadlock row divides old politics from new in Spain

Fiona Govan · 15 Jan 2016, 16:49

Published: 15 Jan 2016 16:49 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The photograph spoke a thousand words; an image of one of the new lawmakers from the radical left Podemos party casually strolling through Parliament while a po-faced Mariano Rajoy looked on.

The younger politician was Alberto Rodríguez, a new parliamentarian representing Tenerife for Podemos, the radical left anti-austerity party that became the third political force after general elections last month.

The party won 71 seats and has promised to upend Spain’s traditional political system from within starting with the swearing in ceremony when Podemos MPs changed the usual oath by promising to "abide by the Constitution and work to change it."

READ: Younger, scruffier, and with a babe in arms: This is Spain's new elite

But it wasn’t just their politics that caused consternation amongst the old guard.

"I don't care if they have dreadlocks. But I want them clean so that they don't give me lice," Celia Villalobos, the deputy speaker from the conservative Popular Party, said in an interview with state broadcaster TVE.

Her misguided quip immediately sparked a furore and a chance for Spanish media to discuss whether dreadlocks did indeed pose a hygiene problem.

It also gave Podemos the perfect opportunity to point out the political corruption scandals that have embroiled the Popular Party.

"What actually harms the health of a political party is corruption," countered Iñigo Errejón, the number two of Podemos.

While another dreadlocked congressman took the insult more personally.

"If only the party of Celia Villalobos was half as clean as my rastas" responded Miguel Ardanuy, another of the Podemos MPs to sport dreadlocks.

Rodríguez, the MP pictured with Rajoy, eventually responded on Friday although he refused to discuss his actual hair-style choices.

Story continues below…

"The lack of respect shown to us at the opening session of parliament confirmed exactly what stuff these people are made of," he said of the personal comments made about him from Villalobos.

And of the now famous photograph of himself and Rajoy, he told the local newspaper Opinion de Tenerife: "I think his face clearly shows that he has not understood that this is a new political era, a new time, and that parliament is no longer the preserve of the few".

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available