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  • Pablo Echenique, leading member of Podemos who appears in this file photo from June 27, 2016, shared the results of the party

    Pablo Echenique, leading member of Podemos who appears in this file photo from June 27, 2016, shared the results of the party's consultation with its grassroots supporters. | Photo: Reuters

Podemos consulted with its grassroots supporters to assess mistakes made in the last election after a disappointing third place finish.

Grassroots supporters of Spain's Podemos want the political party to move a way from a "social-democratic discourse" and a adopt a harder, more left-wing line, according to party secretary Pablo Echenique.

Pablo Echenique, organizational secretary of the Podemos Party in Spain, on Saturday presented the results of the party's consultation with the grassroots that found its supporters want a shift away from a “social-democratic discourse” and move toward a harder, more leftist line.

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Podemos carried out extensive consultation with the party's grassroots supporters, including dialogue with over 400 groups throughout the country and abroad, with the results compiled into the report that Echenique presented on Saturday. The aim of the consultation was to determine mistakes made during the June 26 election.

Despite a third place showing, supporters were left disappointed with the results, as many were expecting to overtake the centrist Socialist Workers' Party.

Those raised expectations were partially driven by the fact that in the election Podemos teamed up with the United Left, a political force comprised of traditional left parties. The two had previously run separate tickets, despite the closeness in their political outlook.

The report found that supporters did not feel strongly about that cooperation, one that leaders from both groups have said will continue.

“The alliance with (the United Left), although organizational problems were mentioned, is seen as neutral. They do not see that it has been neither positive nor negative,” said Echenique, as quoted by Cuarto Poder.

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Grassroots supporters said that the fear campaign against Podemos was the likely cause of the disappointing results in the election. They would have preferred the leaders to defend the party more vehemently in the face of attacks from opponents.

The topic of Venezuela became an issue in the campaign, with Podemos' opponents trying to link the economic crisis there to the leftist Spanish party. Supporters said this likely hurt the party.

Echenique also said that the party's base wanted a return to a “harder” political line like the one used by party leaders a few years ago, which helped the young party become a force in Spanish politics.

Podemos was the product of a fierce anti-austerity movement in Spain that saw thousands march and occupy public squares in protests against neoliberalism. Echenique said the grassroots wished to see a return of that combative anti-austerity spirit in the party.

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