The controversial departure from the Spanish government of Irene Montero, the rebel figure of Podemos

The one who was Minister of Equality during the last legislature accused Pedro Sánchez of having “expelled her from the government”. In the new cabinet there are no more Podemos activists, replaced by socialists and members of Sumar.

It was going to be a simple ceremony, after the eventful electoral year that ended with the inauguration of Pedro Sánchez as president of the Spanish government, but Irene Montero was not going to leave without responding. This Tuesday, during the “transfer of portfolios” day, the now former Minister of Equality caused controversy during the event, accusing the exclusion that the PSOE-Sumar alliance made from its formation.

Indeed, unlike the last legislature, governed by the coalition between the PSOE and Podemos, The latter party was replaced by Sumar, the party led by Vice President Yolanda Díaz. And above all, the Minister of Equality was replaced by the socialist Ana Redondo, to the detriment of the figure of the “purples”.

Montero had been “defenestrated” during the electoral campaign, when Yolanda Díaz founded Sumar, contesting and ultimately winning space on the left of the PSOE. With that, Podemos loses the 5 portfolios obtained in 2020 and disappears from the Spanish executive.

The current Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, transfers her portfolio to Ana Redondo (left). Photo: Europa Press.

“Minister, I wish you well, but I think that’s not the most important thing an Equalities Minister needs. I wish you to surround yourself with the best team, may they never leave you alone.” : this is the message that Irene Montero left to the new minister Ana Redondo, referring to the way in which the former would have been removed from the government.

Montero even made some veiled accusations: “May you have the courage to make the 40 and 50 year old friends of the President of the Government uncomfortable, because feminism is a very powerful movement that conquers rights by asking questions that no one asked before and proposing new answers that make us all happier.

Also from Podemos, the former Minister of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, Ione Belarra, criticized the exclusion of the party she leads: “I won’t hide from you that today is a difficult day for me. Sánchez and the PSOE are achieving today what they failed to achieve in 2019, that is, driving Podemos out of government. This is not only unfair, but it is a huge political mistake because we are facing a reactionary wave. They expel us precisely because they can. Because we did it well. They kick us out, but we don’t leave, we continue with a strong will. With the aim of returning. Because it was possible, it is possible and I assure you that it will be possible.

Referring to the collapse of the Spanish two-party system, Belarra also said that to become a minister required a series of social mobilizations and “We had to organize four legislative elections so that people who think like us can enter the government” thus managing to break “the historical exclusion clause”.

The then Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, makes statements to the media upon her arrival at the second session of the investiture debate, at the Congress of Deputies, on November 16, 2023, in Madrid. Photo: Europe Press

The exclusion of Podemos in general, and of Irene Montero in particular, had been brewing for a long time. A first disagreement between the minister and the PSOE was the “yes means yes” law, also called “Montero law”, which modified the sanctions and the naming of sexual assaults, and which ended up meaning the immediate release of many prisoners who had their sentences shortened after exploiting a legal loophole in the regulations. . Added to this conflict is the rise in power of the figure of Yolanda Díaz, who, with a view to the elections, founded the Sumar movement and explicitly excluded Irene Montero from the lists.

Last week, during the inauguration of Pedro Sánchez, Alberto Núñez Feijóo himself, president of the PP and leader of the opposition, joked about Montero’s situation. Referring to the differences between Sumar and Podemos, the Galician stressed: “What do we do with Podemos? Are we giving him a ministry? What do you think, Mrs. Montero? Given their good record on equality and the fact that Ms Montero is a terrible minister, this is a surprising thing.

Montero herself couldn’t help but smile at the mention of the right-wing leader. “Are you the most feminist government in history and are you going to fire the Minister for Equalities?” Feijóo shouted at Pedro Sánchez, amid laughter from his bench.

Irene Montero is applauded by Ana Redondo before the transfer of the Equality portfolio, to the headquarters of the Ministry of Equality. Photo: Europe Press

Moreno and Podemos tried until the last moment to keep the Equality portfolio in their hands, considering that it is one of the “norms” of the party. Finally, after being offered the Ministry of Social Rights, Podemos ended up rejecting the offer, thus finding itself without a presence in the executive that will govern Spain in the years to come.

Thus ends the rise and fall of Irene Montero, who arrived at Podemos in 2014. in the heat of the mobilizations that the “indignant movement” had provoked three years earlier . Already in 2016, she had managed to become a deputy for the Purple Party, becoming spokesperson for the party, to the detriment of the more centrist Íñigo Errejón.

When the agreement was reached with which the PSOE and Podemos formed their coalition government, in 2020, Montero entered the Executive as Minister of Equality, becoming a feminist leader in Spain. But his big scandal came with the “law, only yes is yes”, which ended up being modified by the PSOE with the votes of the opposition. Today without a ministry and without a seat in the Cortes Generales, Montero no longer holds office and envisages an uncertain political future.

According to the newspaper Libertad Digital, many are considering the possibility that Montero to be the visible face of Podemos for THE 2024 European elections , to which the purple formation would consider appearing alone after announcing its breakup with Sumar. If he is elected, a juicy remuneration would be guaranteed: nothing less than 9,975 euros gross per month, more than double that of a Spanish MP .

Otherwise, I would always a spot on Canal Red, the television channel founded by Pablo Iglesias his partner and former leader of Podemos, “but with little success for the moment”, notes the media.

“But if she did not want to work, the minister until now could sit idly for two years, since she could take advantage of the severance pay for high positions, which, in his case, amounts to more than 120,000 euros”, noted the Spanish site a day before Montero left Sánchez’s cabinet.

Source: Latercera

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