'Catalan independence push & weakness of old parties propelled rightwing Vox to its best ever result in Spanish election'
Vox unexpectedly came third in the Spanish general election on Sunday, claiming 52 seats in the country’s 350-seat parliament and more than doubling their results from previous elections.
The reason for that is the “weakening” of the traditional parties, said Vladimir Shveitser of the Moscow-based Institute for Europe.
The ruling Socialists (PSOE) “remain deadlocked between the interests of the working class and the domestic capital. And they aren’t very successful in promoting their policies in such a tight space,” he said. Another major player, the People’s Party (PP), is still unable to recover from the corruption scandal, which led to the downfall of Mariano Rajoy's government last summer.
The Spanish voters are now in a dubious state when they understand that supporting the old parties is pointless, but see no new parties, capable of providing an alternative.
And that’s where Vox comes in – with its hash rhetoric on such pressing issues as Catalonia’s push for independence from Madrid and the rising migration to the country. Its leader, Santiago Abascal promised to build a “patriotic alternative,” although he didn’t give any details of how this would work.
When PSOE and PP are talking about giving Spanish autonomies more rights to avoid their succession, “Vox expresses belief that any and all home rule should be annulled, especially the one in Catalonia, so that there would be one unitary Spanish state… without any separation into historic regions,” Shveitser said.
Alejandro Quiroga, Spanish history scholar from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, also said that “the situation in Catalonia has had a nuclear effect in terms of the rise of the far-right in Spain.”
Another reason for the success of Vox is “the refugees and migrants, especially, from North Africa that started to actively make their way into Spain in recent years,” upsetting the locals, Shveitser pointed out. “Historic Spanish nationalism keeps working even in the 21st century.”
But Quiroga had a different view, arguing that “the level of sociability in Spain – with migrants and foreigners in general – is quite high so that’s not really a problem.” Vox did especially well in the richest parts of the country where there aren’t too many migrants altogether.
Quigora believes that now Vox would make “a political issue,” despite it not being a real social problem in Spain.Also on rt.com Catalan indies, Steve Bannon proteges: Spanish centrist parties pick allies in fragmented elections
However, both experts agreed that party led by Abascal has little to offer to the Spanish people besides empty declarations.
“They don’t have much of a policy. They have a rhetoric, which is basically xenophobic and anti-women and anti-equality, but in terms of policies, really not much there,” Quiroga explained.
The arrival of Vox will also “provoke turmoil and chaos during the formation of the Spanish government,” Shveitser warned, saying that they’ve snatch a lot seat, but no other party will be willing to engage in a coalition with them.
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