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05/02/2019

The Spanish elections and the alleged gains of the “extreme right”

The Spanish elections and the alleged gains of the “extreme right”

The elections in Spain have shown that the country will not follow the populist trends that seem to be blooming across the rest of Europe. The PSOE, the Spanish Socialist Party, a hollow social democratic version of the radical party it once was, retained their hold on power.

The PSOE first attained power in 2018 after a kind of “impeachment” of the right-leaning People’s Party, consolidating its hold by forming a coalition with the minor parties and separatist parties that had come together to remove then President Mariano Rajoy from power.

Spain is suffering a slowly recovering from economic crisis, crowded by migrants who have flooded onto the southern coast and threatened by internal battles with separatist regions bent on splitting one of the oldest nations in Europe. It was within this context that the country held elections past Sunday, April 28.

While the result was the reelection of the PSOE with an absolute majority in the Senate, there were some caveats. Most importantly, the far-right VOX party, which has never held a seat in parliament, made serious gains in the wake of mounting opposition to the Socialist party. The party ended up with some 10% of the total vote, appalling mainstream media outlets around the world. Nonetheless, they actually did not do as well as many in Spain had anticipated they would.

Vox, despite being a relatively new party emerged from the split of the PP in 2013, was the focus of attention in social networks to keep the conservative positions that had left the PP of Mariano Rajoy on issues such as abortion, drugs, immigration, gay marriage, etc

The attack on Vox was particularly hard in the Spanish media. The fear card was played to scare the electorate to believe that their “rights that would be lost” if the right won in the elections.

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We must take into account that Vox is, despite this fear mongering, not a serious alternative to the system that has been in place in the country since 1978. Although they criticized certain aspects of the autonomous regions established in the constitution that year, their speeches were perceived as empty by much of society. This is due by and large to Vox’s strategy of limiting itself to fighting the social delusions of the Spanish left and Catalan separatists, rather than promoting radical alternatives.

Unlike movements detached from liberalism and democratic socialism, such as the National Front in France, Vox did not promote national industry nor attempted to improve the working conditions of the Spanish people. By contrast, the labor “reform” they proposed came straight out of the liberal’s handbook and had very little to offer as far as social content. Logically, this did not attract some important sectors of the Spanish population.

In matters of foreign policy, Vox was ambiguous and, except for some isolated statements, offered no real alternative to the current government’s policies. Its priorities remain to stay close to NATO, the European Union and Israel. The disastrous boomerang effect that occurred as a result of attacks on Syria, Libya or Iraq was all but totally ignored, despite how deeply and negatively the conflicts affected Spain and all of Europe.

In short, Spain will continue on the same path of civil war revanchism, continue to push the same ‘progressive’ agenda politically correct censorship and continue to follow the same neoliberal economic system demanded by “The Economist” and “The Financial Times.”

 
Gonzalo Collado De Giovannini
Argentinian Spanish-Italian Analyst, specialist in Geopolitics, International Security and Global Affairs. Twitter: @GonzaloCDG

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