Sofía Castañón formalized on Monday her resignation as regional coordinator of Podemos Asturias after almost a year in which she had stopped performing that task because of a medical leave. The final march, which had been speculated for some time, ignites again the most explosive powder keg that the purple party has, since Asturias is the scene of a fierce battle between officials and critics. Now the fight is back.
There, unlike other parts of the country, the critical sector has great strength. Not surprisingly, they led the party in this community for six years (from 2015 to 2021) and, once they lost that control, they consummated their reconquest of power a year later by taking the first positions of the candidacy in the primaries for the regional elections held last May.
The resignation of Castañón and the appointment of a manager to pilot the transition has already caused critics to press for an extraordinary congress to be convened "as soon as possible" and get out of this interim situation that, in reality, has been living since Rafael Palacios assumed the leadership of the party as interim coordinator. in provisional replacement of Castañón.
Critics are demanding such an assembly to elect a new leadership but for now there is no date on the horizon. The fear they have is that this situation will continue over time.
The chaos that the party is experiencing in Asturias is such that the only purple deputy in the General Assembly is Cove Tomé, the main reference of the critical sector. She led for months an internal revolt against Palacios and against the national leadership for maneuvers to silence her once she won the primaries. With confinement included for a week at the party headquarters in Gijón.
In a statement collected by Efe, Tomé stresses that the request of the "majority part" of the militancy is "the democratic and participatory celebration" of the Citizen Assembly to settle that Podemos Asturias has been "too long adrift without any direction at the front."
It also denounces that "Castañón and his team have limited themselves to the sanction and / or indiscriminate expulsion" of colleagues. He refers to what has been one of the consequences of this internal war between officials and critics: the expulsion of former leaders such as Daniel Ripa, who was general secretary of Podemos in Asturias and who endured as the last unrelated baron in the stage of Pablo Iglesias. Until Castañón won a primary by a handful of votes. Not only was Ripa expelled, other members of the critical sector were also sanctioned, including one of the candidates, who finally fell from the May electoral lists in the midst of a hard dialectical battle.
Palacios is one of the main figures that make up the manager appointed this Monday by the national leadership, which includes people from his orbit and also from the maximum confidence of Ione Belarra, such as Álex Zapico.
Castañón not only leaves control of Podemos Asturias. She also ceases as a member of the National Executive, the State Citizen Council and as Secretary of Culture. She closes a political stage that also took her to Congress between 2016 and 2023, where she was also one of the voices in the area of feminism.
In his farewell letter, he lashes out at critics. "I regret that the insidious noise has prevented me from advancing as coordinator in the country project that Asturies needs," she says. For the rest, he dedicates good words to Palacios, Pablo Iglesias or Ione Belarra.
It also does so with Olaya Suárez, until now Secretary of Organization, and who appears in the pools as a possible official alternative to lead the party after the controversies carried out by Palacios, such as the annulment of the primaries in Langreo. Suárez, who is not included in the manager, maintains excellent relations with Irene Montero, who in the campaign went to support her as an aspirant in Gijón in a visit in which the number two of Podemos avoided doing the same with the regional candidate despite the fact that they were all in the same city.
It is an example of the staging of the cold war that the Podemos leadership maintained for months with Tomé and the critics. The now deputy was never invited to the major events organized by the party (Uni de Otoño, Spring Festival ...), where the rest of the regional candidates had a prominent role. Nor was it promoted from social networks.
- Pablo Iglesias