Podemos has a real chance to take power in Spain just 15 months after becoming a political party.
At 22% it has the highest poll ratings of all the parties vying for election, and may potentially lead a coalition government.
Podemos champions collaborative and participative policy making, using the web very differently from Spain's traditional parties, and draws much of its energy from grass roots 'circles' of activists. The party's roots lie in the 'Indignados' anti-austerity occupation protests of 2011.
The Spanish general election is due to be called this year, but the date has not yet been set. The polls currently show a very tight race between the four leading parties, only two of which (PP and PSOE) are traditional national parties. The fourth one is Ciudadanos, a regional party that only recently decided to stand nationally.
If Podemos is successful it will be the second radical anti-austerity party elected to power in Europe this year, challenging the dominant neoliberal order that has prevailed since the 2008 financial crash. Does Podemos herald a new political era of internet-empowered grassroots democracy? Or is it merely a symptom of the prevailing interregnum and a catastrophic lack of trust in traditional politicians?
The Guardian (2015, March 31) The Podemos revolution: how a small group of radical academics changed European politics