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Spain's Yolanda Díaz resigns as head of far-left Sumar

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Spain's Yolanda Díaz resigns as head of far-left Sumar
Spain's far left Sumar party's leader, member of the ruling coalition, resigns as leader of her party following EU vote, AFP reports on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP)

Yolanda Díaz, number three in Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's government, resigned Monday as head of the government's far-left junior coalition partner Sumar, following a weak showing in the EU election which in Spain was won by the right.

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"I have decided to leave my role as head of Sumar," she said of the alliance which is the junior partner in Sanchez's left-wing coalition.

Díaz will however retain her position as labour minister and one of Sánchez's deputies.

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Her remarks came a day after the country voted in elections for the European Parliament which in Spain were won by right-wing opposition Popular Party.

"The elections have been like a mirror. People aren't wrong when they vote or when they chose not to vote. It is always our responsibility and in this case, mine. The people have spoken and I am taking it into account," said the 53-year-old.

PROFILE: Who is Yolanda Díaz?

She said there needed to be "a debate" about the leadership within Sumar ("Unite"), which she set up in July 2022 as an umbrella group for all parties to the left of Sánchez's Socialists.

Spain's far-left won five seats in Sunday's elections, down from six in the previous vote in 2019. Of that number, three were won by Sumar and two by Podemos, its rival and a former partner in Sánchez's coalition.

READ MORE: Six key takeaways from the European elections in Spain

Although initially aligned, the two factions fell out after Sumar refused to let then Equality Minister Irene Montero, a lead figure in Podemos, to run on its list for last July's general elections.

In Sunday's vote, the opposition PP won 22 of Spain's 61 seats in the European Parliament, followed by the Socialists who secured 20 seats.

In 2019, the Socialists had won a decisive victory with 21 seats compared to 13 for the PP.

In his victory speech, PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo said voters had handed them the victory they were waiting for, putting Spain "on the cusp of a new political cycle".

Sunday's vote also saw the far right make a strong showing, with Vox coming third with six seats, up from four seats in 2019.

And a new far-right faction called "Se Acabó la Fiesta" ("The Party's Over") made a surprise debut winning three seats, trailing Sumar by barely 11,000 votes.

Sunday's vote came almost a year after Spain's inconclusive July election.

Although the PP came first, it didn't have the parliamentary support to form a government, leaving the way open for Sánchez. He mustered a majority with the backing of far-left and regional parties, including the Catalan separatists.

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