May 27, 2018 / 7:19 PM / a month ago

Leaders of Spain's Podemos win confidence vote after house purchase queried

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Two leaders of Spain’s left-wing Podemos party, which was born out of opposition to austerity during the financial crisis, won on Sunday a confidence vote called after they bought a house for over 600,000 euros (525,287.44 pounds) near Madrid.

Podemos (We can) party members Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero attend a press conference regarding the purchase of a house for over 600,000 euros (525,336 pounds) in Madrid, Spain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Party leader Pablo Iglesias and his partner, Podemos’ spokesperson Irene Montero, won 68 percent of almost 190,000 votes cast. Respondents were asked: “Do you think Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero should continue as party leader and party spokesperson?”

Podemos called the vote last week after critics accused Iglesias and Montero of hypocrisy and betraying their left-wing principles by purchasing the property. The couple, defending the purchase, said the home was for their own use and was not a speculative move into real estate.

Pablo Echenique, Podemos’s secretary of organisation, described the result as “historic” in a post on Facebook on Sunday, saying the party would continue working to challenge Spain’s conservative government.

Reporting by Sam Edwards; Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Susan Fenton

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