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Andalusia, the biggest Autonomous Community of Spain, gives nationalist party Vox 400,000 votes and 12 seats in its regional Parliament.
For years, Spain seemed to be immune to the rise of anti-immigration parties with a strong nationalistic message. But Vox, a new far-right party has changed the political scenario after the regional election in Andalusia.
The party created in 2014 had called for a “Reconquista” of the Southern region of Spain, alluding to the long Medieval battle through which the Moorish lords were ousted from Al-Andalus. The enemies of the 21st century are “the Socialists and Communists”, according to Vox; in other words, the Social Democrats in power since the restitution of democracy.
Spanish flags, calls to bring back the Catholic heritage and a message against the political elites and the European Union have made Vox the “moral winners” in the biggest of the 17 Autonomous Communities which form Spain.
The party had no seats, and was expected to win up to five in this election, but the result on Sunday night was much more impressive: 12 representatives and almost 400,000 votes (11%).
Vox “has arrived to stay”, its leader Santiago Abascal said hours later. He had repeatedly called for the “Living Spain” to wake up to put an end to 36 years of Social Democrat (PSOE) rule in Andalusia.
Coming fifth, after PSOE, PP (Conservatives), Ciudadanos (centre-right Liberals) and Adelante Andalucía (left), Vox has suddenly become the kingmaker; and the Andalusian right-wing parties have already said they will accept the votes of the far-right party to gain power.
CONNECTIONS WITH LE PEN AND TRUMP
Vox had doubts about the regional election, because their first aim have always been the European elections, in May, where they hope to gather the Eurosceptic vote.
“Spain First” is the slogan of the party, a clear wink that connects them to Donald Trump’s message of protecting the working classes who have most suffered the consequences of the financial crisis.
WHAT MAKES VOX STRONG?
But what is giving Abascal’s party momentum? Analysts agree in two major reasons. On one side is the large increase of asylum seekers arriving to the south of Spain in 2018, a reality that adds to the presence of thousands of African migrants in areas of Andalusia where many Spaniards say they feel “invaded”.
Catalonia is the other big issue that strengthens parties with a strong nationalist discourse. The fight for independence of the Nortern Autonomy has caused a strong centralist reaction in many other areas of Spain.
GENDER IDEOLOGY AND ABORTION
In contrast with the four big parties in Spain, Vox has clearly defended marriage as a union between man and woman. The party has also denounced the pro-LGBTI laws that restrict freedom of speech.
Their opposition to abortion would be another reason why many Christians, including some evangelical pastors, have expressed their sympathy for the new movement. Contrary to other far-right movements in Europe, Vox includes Roma people (gypsies) among their militants, and has even advocated for a “Roma Day”.
Many other evangelical Christians have expressed their opposition to a party that would close the doors to refugees and exalt the Spanish nation above other peoples.
What seems sure is that the apparition of a growing far-right movement in Spain will change the socio-political scenario in a key moment. The local, European and national elections will all be held in Spain in 2019.