Spanish nationalist party in election breakthrough

For the first time in forty years, nationalists have been elected to the Spanish Parliament in Madrid.

On April 28th the new nationalist party Vox won 10.3% of the vote and 24 seats in Spain’s general election.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal

Until recently Spain had one of the most inflexible two-party systems in Europe. Anyone broadly of the right (i.e. who would have supported Franco’s Nationalists during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War) would vote for the conservative Popular Party. Anyone broadly of the left (i.e. who would have supported the socialist-communist Republicans during the Civil War) would vote for Spain’s Socialist Party PSOE, unless they were from the Catalonian or Basque regions, when they might vote for separatist parties.

Multiple scandals have shattered this duopoly, with the conservative Popular Party the main losers. In this year’s election the PP lost more than half of their parliamentary seats, challenged both by Vox and by a free-market conservative party called Citizens.

For the time being, Vox will have no share in government, which will be dominated by the socialists with support from the far left and separatist parties.

Predictably Vox’s strongest support came in regions that have been most threatened by African immigration. Across Andalusia – where they made their most significant breakthrough in regional elections late last year – Vox polled 13.4% (more than 600,000 votes). In the small city of Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the North African coast, they were runners-up with 24%.

Santiago Abascal with French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen

This result will give Vox hope of winning MEPs for the first time when Spain holds its European Parliamentary elections on May 26th. It is expected that Vox MEPs will join the anti-immigration bloc headed by Matteo Salvini’s Italian Lega and Marine Le Pen’s renamed National Rally (formerly the National Front).

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