Spain Dodges a Far-Right Bullet
A few days ago, the Vox party appeared to be on the cusp of becoming the first far-right party in Spain’s government since the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship nearly 50 years ago. That did not happen, but Spanish politics may nonetheless be headed for a new and volatile chapter.
MADRID – “Spain is different” is a phrase that has often been used as a substitute for nuanced analysis of developments in the country. But Spain truly was different in its peaceful transition to democracy after the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship – which coined the cliché – and the sweeping modernization that followed. It was also different for not having a far-right party contending for political power – a status it seemed to be losing but has now managed to reclaim.
While many European countries – including Austria, France, Germany, and most of Scandinavia – have long struggled to contain their respective proto-fascist parties, Spain’s center-right People’s Party (PP) succeeded in integrating remaining Francoist forces, thereby diluting their influence. This changed in 2014, when Santiago Abascal founded the Vox party, whose neo-Francoist agenda quickly drew significant support: five years later, Vox won 52 seats in Spain’s parliament.
A few days ago, Vox appeared to be on the cusp of another milestone: becoming the first far-right party in Spain’s government since the end of Franco’s regime. Polls suggested that, in last Sunday’s snap election, voters would reject Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s fractious left-wing coalition in favor of the PP – Spain’s main conservative opposition party – which would surely need Vox’s support to take office.
To continue reading, register now.
Already have an account? Log in