Leading opposition party leader says he hopes to govern alone
The leader of Spain’s conservative Popular Party said on Monday that he is open to allowing the far-right party Vox into a governing coalition at a national level.
This is the clearest Alberto Nunez Feijoo has spoken about the potential for the far-right to become part of a government for the first time in Spain’s recent democratic history.
“Where we need Vox’s support, it’s logical for Vox to be in the government. If we don’t need Vox’s support, it’s logical that they won’t be in the government,” Feijoo said in an interview with journalist Ana Rosa.
Since the right-wing forces swept in regional and local elections in May, the Popular Party has agreed to govern alongside Vox in the regions of Valencia and Extremadura and several major cities and provinces.
In the Balearic Islands, where the Popular Party failed to win a majority, Vox agreed to allow the Popular Party to govern alone. In exchange, the Popular Party signed a joint document vowing to combat minority languages in school, to pass a new “family law that revindicates the family as the fundamental cell of society” and to “protect women” in relation to trans issues.
Just days before the government in Murcia is supposed to be formed, the two parties have still failed to strike a deal. There, the Popular Party also fell short of a majority.
Meanwhile, ahead of national elections on July 23, the right-wing is poised to win again, though it appears unlikely that the Popular Party could secure an absolute majority.
The latest survey for El Pais and broadcaster Cadena Ser, published Monday, suggests voter support for the right may be fading. That poll suggests that even together, the Popular Party and Vox would fall short of a majority government, despite winning more support than the two main left-wing parties.
In a state of flux
Although Spain has not held general elections in almost four years, the country’s politics remains in flux.
Since the country’s transition to democracy in the late 1970s, the country had only been led by the Popular Party or the Socialist Party. But then, in 2016, new parties started bursting on the scene, annihilating the traditional bipartisan system.
In the four years from 2016 to 2019, Spain held four national elections. Eventually, the Socialists were left with no appetizing option but to negotiate the country’s first coalition government with the far-left Unidas Podemos.
The left-wing coalition has been largely economically successful and passed several key reforms, including a new housing law, a historical memory bill, a massive labor reform, large increases in pensions and the minimum wage, as well as bills aimed at protecting women’s and LGBTQ rights.
However, some of the more progressive reforms, especially those related to gender equality and the Francoist past, have seen significant blowback. The right-wing parties have also leveraged anger over the government’s deals made with Catalan and Basque separatists.
Meanwhile, Vox has also been rallying voters by suggesting that the unrest in France could spill over to Spain.
“A society like ours is unable to assimilate mass immigration, especially that’s coming from places where many people are unable to adapt to our laws and our culture,” Vox leader Santiago Abascal said in Barcelona on Sunday, adding that in France, immigrants are “destroying police stations, burning libraries and stabbing babies.”
“The woke class sells multiculturalism … like it consists of going to a fancy new Lebanese restaurant … The problems of living together and crime are felt by the humble people, the workers and middle classes of Europe,” added Abascal, who has never been closer to holding a ministerial post in Spain.