To many Spaniards, the man behind the statements, Pablo Iglesias, is known simply as “the one with the ponytail.”
But besides his hairstyle and penchant for discount clothing, Mr. Iglesias and his Podemos party are radically shaking up Spain’s political establishment, mirroring the ascent of Syriza, the far-left party that swept to power in Greece in January on a powerful anti-austerity message.
“I really never thought I could become president of the government, but I think we’re now in a situation where this could happen,” Mr. Iglesias said in a recent interview at his new party headquarters.
That possibility remains distant for the moment. The first challenge facing Mr. Iglesias, 36, a political-science professor who founded his party on a shoestring last year, is much the same already navigated by his Greek counterparts: Can a party from the radical left break into the old political establishment and get elected nationally?
The second challenge is also shared with his fellow Greek travelers: In doing so, can his party remain true to its talk?
Having succeeded at the first part, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece, 40, an upstart of the same generation, has already faced a steep learning curve on how to reconcile his Syriza party’s promises with the reality of Greece’s financial calamity, bending to a deal with Brussels in February that many of his party faithful condemned as a sellout.
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