One of the most remarkable and once unthinkable trajectories in modern Spanish politics came to an end just before midnight on Tuesday when Podemos leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias announced he was leaving politics for good.

Speaking after the triumph of the Conservative People’s Party (PP) in the regional elections in Madrid in which he ran as his party’s candidate, Iglesias said the time had come for him to “leave my post and step down. Politics”. But the former professor of politics added that he remained “very proud” to have carried out “a project which changed the history of our country”.

It was not a boast. In the seven years since Podemos was born out of the fury of Spain unworthy movement, the far-left anti-austerity party has transformed the country’s politics.

After breaking through in the 2014 European elections, Podemos – along with the now dying center-right citizens party – ended four decades of domination by the duopoly of the PP and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).

While the highly predicted overtaking (overtaking) the PSOE did not materialize in the 2016 general election – and although Podemos had long struggled with factional feuds and schisms – the party still managed to enter Spain’s first coalition government in eight decades, barely six years after its founding.

“Being in politics widens the shoulders,” he told the Guardian in 2017. “There’s this cruel saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And I think the punches we took made us stronger.

Throughout his time in opposition and in government, Iglesias never found himself at a loss for words. In 2016, he stunned his deputy at the time, Iñigo Errejón, rounding up the PSOE in Congress by reminding the Socialists of their role in the dirty war against the Basque terrorist group Eta in the 1980s, when government-funded death squads murdered suspected terrorists and disposed of their bodies . Iglesias told the chamber that former PSOE leader Felipe González was a man with a “quicklime stained past”.

More recently, he reserved his anger and rhetoric for his opponents from the far-right Vox party, suggesting he would like to see a coup d’état in Spain but did not have the courage to organize one, and saying to its deputies: “You are not even fascists – you are only parasites.”

Iglesias also spoke of a “state sewage” structure, run by some media figures and PP members, which he said has long been engaged in efforts to protect the party from a judicial review and coating its opponents with fabricated political scandals.

Although he emerged from a recent election debate after the Vox candidate tried to question the death threat he and his family received – as well as four assault rifle bullets – Iglesias has little impact. chances of keeping his opinions to himself now that he’s been out of politics. Enemies and old allies can expect to find himself the target of a man who has traveled, over the course of a few years, from one of the ruling elite’s fiercest critics to one of those who are at its heart, even if only briefly. .