Podemos in practice

The Spanish political party Podemos was founded in March 2014 and originates from the 2011 Indignados Movement (anti-austerity movement) against inequality and corruption. Because Podemos has so many critical members, only a well transparent inclusive process allowed Podemos to reach and involve their supporters.

Sofia de Roa at Innovating Democracy
Sofia de Roa works for the Podemos transparency department to visualize all the financial transactions to their members. This is part of their radical new vision on politics.

Podemos, which translates to ‘We can’, is a left-wing political party. It is the second largest political party with more than 441.150 members. At the elections for the national parliament on December 20, 2015, Podemos received 21% of the vote and became the third largest party in the Spanish parliament, with 69 out of 350 seats.

This result was described as the end of the traditional two party system in Spain. With the general election in june 2016 the alliance between Podemos and IU lost near 1,1 million votes. Unidos Podemos has now 71 seats in the Spanish parliament.

Podemos was able to reach the social majority with their decentralized circular networks and manage to connect them through Spain. Podemos is known for making use of innovative online and offline strategies to reach people, such as a modeling their party manifesto for the 2016 elections on a Ikea catalog and making use of digital tools such as a Reddit.

De Roa is part of the financial department of Podemos. They publish all the party income and outcome online. To facilitate this, they developed a special public portal to monitor the financial transactions. Podemos’ transparent inclusive process is also visible in how they use open source tools to let members participate in cooperative drafting of documents and voting on proposals.

De Roa: “Right now we are dealing with the growing pains associated with transforming a movement into a political party. Such as the press, that have often ties with the opposing parties, spreading false news about corruption. Or supporters losing faith in the party because of compromises and deals made with other political parties.”

De Roa is hopeful that they will be able to complete the transformation to a (governing) political party. By developing and using innovative tools Podemos wants to stay true to their cause.

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