Why ex-Communist Manuela Carmena is set to be Madrid’s next mayor

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The retired judge could be about to lead a leftwing coalition into power, with a plan to transform the politics of Spain’s capital

The candidate enters the stadium, fist pumping the air and shaking as many hands possible en route to the podium, as thousands of supporters cheer wildly. For most politicians, scenes like that are an invaluable part of the campaign, a chance to flaunt their supporters in the face of the opposition: but not so for the woman poised to become Madrid’s mayor.

“Rallies are one person going blah, blah, blah and then leaving,” Manuela Carmena tells the Observer. “I refuse to do them.” To her, rallies simply reinforce the chasm between people and their politicians. “We said no to rallies. Instead we held meetings in neighbourhoods and said, ‘We’re your candidates, tell us if what we’re doing is good or bad, ask us questions.’ We gave the word to people – we didn’t want to speak.”

We were unknown candidates, we didn’t have any money for the campaign. I like to say we ran on the currency of hope

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via Why ex-Communist Manuela Carmena is set to be Madrid’s next mayor.