Spain protest party Podemos second in key opinion poll
Spanish left-wing protest party Podemos has leapt into second place in voting intentions ahead of elections this year, closing in on the ruling conservatives, a key poll showed on Wednesday.
Founded just a year ago, Podemos has overtaken the mainstream opposition Socialist Party with 23.9 percent of the vote, according to the study by the CIS state research institute.
The governing conservative Popular Party remain the most popular party with 27.3 percent support with the Socialists in third place with 22 percent, according to the survey.
The study was carried out in early January, before the Greek general election won by left-wing party Syriza, allies of Podemos.
The CIS poll was closely watched ahead of local and regional elections due in May and a general election due in November.
Spain's two most populous regions, Andalucia and Catalonia will hold their elections in March and September respectively.
The last CIS survey of voting intentions, published in October, had put Podemos in third place with 22.5 percent of the vote, just behind the Socialists.
Emerging out of the Indignants protest movement that swept Spain from 2011 during its economic crisis, Podemos promises to fight corruption and what its leader Pablo Iglesias calls the traditional "caste" of political leaders.
Four months after its official founding, the party won five seats in the European Parliament in May, with more than 1.2 million Spaniards voting for it.
The CIS also indicated that inequality and corruption were the main concerns of Spanish voters.
The government estimates that the economy grew 1.4 percent in 2014, but 36.4 percent of those polled by the CIS described the economic situation as "very bad" and 40.1 percent as "bad".
Nearly 80 percent said their main worry was unemployment. Spain's jobless rate after the crisis is still close to 24 percent.
© 2015 AFP