SPAIN’S Vox party has secured 24 seats in the country’s parliament, the first time a far-right party has done so since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal celebrated the party’s result of getting 10 per cent of the vote at a rally in Madrid where he told supporters the party was “going to begin a reconquering of Spain and that’s what we have done.”
The party had made shock gains in the regional elections in Andalusia in December.
Vox, which was formed five years ago, has promised to defend Spain from its “enemies,” citing feminists, liberal elites and Muslims among others.
Its emergence on the national stage gives Spain five political parties, furthering political fragmentation in a country that was alternately ruled for decades by the Socialists and the Popular Party.
The new nationalist party though was way behind the socialist party (POSE) under Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez who secured the most seats with 123 and 29 per cent of the vote.
THE RISE OF VOX
Even with the support of Unidas Podemos – a coalition of the United Left and the anti-austerity Podemos, which picked up 42 seats – the left-wing parties fell short of gaining 176 seats needed for an absolute majority.
The situation means the left-wing parties will have to do a deal with the minority and regional parties in order to stay in power.
Sanchez said the only conditions he would place on forming a coalition government would be respecting the constitution and promoting social justice.
He told supporters he would put up no “safety cordon” in talks to form a government, a common expression used in the campaign to show one party refused to make a deal with another.
NO ‘SAFETY CORDON’
While the left-wing parties saw their power base reduced, the conservative Popular Party (PP) saw their vote collapse and recorded their worst ever showing in a national vote with 66 seats, losing more than half of its support since the last election in 2016.
Pablo Casado, who had steered the Popular Party further to the right to try to stop it from losing votes to Vox, called the worst ballot result ever for his party “very bad,” saying “we’ve been losing our electoral support for several elections.”
The centre-right party Ciudadanos picked up 57 seats.
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Voters in Spain had become disillusioned as the country struggled with a recession, austerity cuts, corruption scandals, divisive demands for independence from the restive Catalonia region and a rise in far-right nationalism not seen since Spain’s dictatorship ended in the 1970s.
It was the country’s third general election in four years and had a huge turnout at around 75 per cent, 8.5 percentage points higher than in the last election in 2016.
There was a particularly high turnout in Catalonia where many parties there are fighting for independence from Spain.
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