February 26, 2015
Anti-austerity party Podemos is not the only group upsetting politics in Spain and trying to capitalize on popular discontent. Another party gaining favor among voters is the significantly less radical Ciudadanos ("Citizens"). Formed in Catalonia, the party promotes national unity and has been attracting voters from both the left and right who are fed up with corrupt politicians.
- Led by 35-year-old Albert Rivera, whose popularity polls the highest among all leaders in Spain, with an approval rating of 49%, the party is still relatively new and has yet to decide exactly where it's headed.
- The Ciudadanos ideological blur is its greatest asset, says Le Monde. Like Podemos, it lies beyond the left-right divide and also sends a message of moderation that could attract many conservatives tired of the governing Popular Party (PP).
- While Ciudadanos has been identified as having a populist platform, many campaign videos feature notorious right-wing personalities. The party is no stranger to controversy: Rivera raised more than a few eyebrows last year with an extremely revealing campaign poster. Members have also been questioned for their involvement in dubious coalitions.
- The party is opposed to Catalan nationalism and was outspoken during last year's referendum on secession. Rivera outlines the party's ideology with the phrase: "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country, and the European Union is our future." Their pro-union stance won them growing support around the rest of the country, along with their promise of sound economic management.
- Their primary objectives are to fight unemployment, inequality, insecurity, and poverty, and make sure that all citizens receive a fair wage. The party says it will also strive for a EU that is politically active against unemployment.
- The most recent poll from the Metroscopia Institute for El País suggests that if a general election were to be held tomorrow, Ciudadanos would win 12.2% (around 1 million votes, placing it in 4th position), while Podemos would take the most, at 27.7%. With upcoming regional and municipal elections in May and a general election in December, the party can only be expected to expand and grow in popularity.
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