Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias, of the leftist United We Can (UP) alliance, unexpectedly resigned on Monday, saying he plans to stand for a seat in Madrid in upcoming regional elections.
Iglesias, who is extremely unpopular in conservative circles, said he would run against the conservative regional government leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso in the Madrid regional elections on May 4.
He plans to leave his post in government at the start of campaigning on April 30.
“Democracy is threatened by a new right a la Trump,” Iglesias tweeted in explanation. “Today, it is necessary to confront this criminal right.”
His comments also referred to right-wing populist Vox Party.
Iglesias proposed Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz to succeed him as deputy to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Iglesias’ resignation is likely to have a significant impact on the government, campaigning in Madrid and the UP itself, according to La Vanguardia newspaper.
Ayuso, of the conservative PP, called the new election last week after her junior coalition partner, the liberal-conservative Ciudadanos, ended its coalition with the People’s Party (PP) in the Murcia region and introduced a no-confidence motion in the regional head of government.
Ayuso, who had been weighing an early election for some time, according to reports, said she pre-empted a no-confidence motion by calling new elections.
So far, polling suggests Ayuso would win an election but fail to gain an absolute majority.
While many see her as a beacon of hope in the PP, she could depend more heavily on Vox in the future.