Out of politics, ponytailed Podemos founder has a haircut and Spain goes crazy for it

So long, ponytail. First he left the government, then he left politics. And now Spain's Pablo Iglesias has taken change one step further by lopping off his trademark long locks.

Out of politics, ponytailed Podemos founder has a haircut and Spain goes crazy for it

Whether tied back in a ponytail or worn up in a bun, his hair has often defined the former politics professor who co-founded the radical left-wing Podemos, which joined Spain’s coalition government in January 2020.

Known for years in the Spanish press as “el coletas” — the man with a ponytail — Iglesias kept his look even when named a deputy prime minister, pairing his long hair with open-necked shirts at official events, or even bundling it up in a bun.

But barely a week after standing down as a politician, Iglesias has adopted a completely new look, with pictures in La Vanguardia newspaper showing the bearded 42-year-old in a checked shirt and jeans with his wavy brown hair shorn short.

Photo by Dani GAGO / AFP

Was it a centre parting or more “on the right”, wondered the right-wing La Razón newspaper, but it was impossible to say from the angle of the photos.

Iglesias resigned from politics on May 4 after Spain’s left-wing parties were routed in Madrid’s regional elections, just seven weeks after stepping down as deputy prime minister to run as his party’s candidate.

Podemos emerged out of the anti-austerity “Indignados” protest movement that occupied public squares across Spain in 2011, with the party entering the political scene in 2014.

Since then, Iglesias has been one of the best-known faces of Spanish politics.

Shortly after it was established, the party was elected to the European

Parliament, with ballot papers that featured a picture of his ponytail.

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Far-left Podemos accuses Spain’s new PM of ‘arrogance’

Spain's far-left party Podemos, which helped the Socialists oust the conservatives and take power, accused new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of being "arrogant" for thinking "he could govern alone."

Far-left Podemos accuses Spain's new PM of 'arrogance'
Photo: AFP

Sanchez, 46, ousted conservative premier Mariano Rajoy last Friday in a parliamentary no-confidence vote, sparked by corruption convictions against former officials of Rajoy's Popular Party (PP), which had governed for six years.

The Socialists, however, have a parliamentary minority and needed the support from Podemos as well as the Basque and Catalan nationalist lawmakers.

On Friday as Sanchez and his cabinet were sworn into office, Podemos chief Pablo Iglesias stressed that Spain is no longer a two-party country.

“He who has the arrogance to think he can govern alone after having the worst electoral result in the history of his party, will surely not be up to the job,” Iglesias warned Sanchez.

The Socialists only hold 84 seats in Spain's 350-seat legislature, the smallest parliamentary presence of any Spanish government since the return to democracy in the 1970s.

“The Spain that evicted Rajoy, is not only the five million Socialist Party voters, it's also the five million who voted for Podemos and its allies and the numerous Catalan and Basque voters who made it possible,” Iglesias said.

Iglesias on Thursday had said during a TV interview that trying to govern with such a small minority “would probably be an ordeal” for Sanchez.

The far-left leader, who had sought in vain for Podemos members to be part of the Sanchez government, however also called on Friday for dialogue with the Socialists.

Podemos is pushing for greater social spending — a delicate issue given the European Union's demands on budgetary discipline.