Rise of far-right in Spain bad news for ruling coalition

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 MADRID – For the first time the political party Vox is on the brink of taking some of the power in Spain. Sunday the regional election in Castile and León was held. It has made the far-right party the most likely coalition partner for the larger centre-right People’s Party.

The PP called the election in hopes of gaining an absolute majority. This would allow the party to overthrow the previous centrist partner with which it ruled the region. That idea failed and the PP only got 31% of the vote. The Socialists – the national governing party – received 30% of the vote and Vox was in third place, with 17% of the vote. Due to the demise of Ciudadanos in this election, PP has no other potential rage partner than Vox.

Vox national party leader, Santiago Abascal, said the party’s regional leader could become the deputy regional president in Castile and León. “Vox has the right and duty to form a government in Castile and León,” he said at a political rally on Sunday night.

The result is a blow to the PP. This party was until a decade ago the only conservative force in Spain. After a series of corruption scandals and with the simultaneous rise of new parties such as Vox and Ciudadanos the PP saw its power shatter. Almost 8 years after its founding, Vox is the third-largest party in parliament.

New gains for the far-right in Europe

Vox’s regional gain in Spain also represents another gain for the far-right in Europe. That saw his support grow in countries like France, Italy, and Portugal by targeting immigration, feminism, and LGBT or other minority communities.

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Under the Spanish federal system, the regions have their own parliaments and governments with powers in areas such as health and education.

Vox previously helped conservative regional governments in regions such as Madrid or Andalucia into the political saddle. They gave votes on specific legislative issues. However, the far-right party never formally joined a regional government.

A precurser for Andalucian and national elections?

Vox’s position in Castile and Leon could foreshadow another surge in support for the party in Andalusia. Elections will be held in this most populous region of Spain in the coming months. It could also be a precursor to the national elections that will take place in 2023.

Talk to all political parties

The current regional president of Castile and Leon, Alonso Fernandez Manueco of the PP, wants to talk to all political parties to form alliances. In doing so, he did not point directly at Vox.

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