Factbox: The rise of Spain's far-right - Vox becomes third-biggest party
Newscomer rising firstFounded in 2013 by former members of the mainstream conservative People’s Party, Vox is anti-Muslim, nationalist, anti-feminist, Eurosceptic, socially conservative, economically liberal, and staunchly pro-Spanish unity. It got its first foothold in office last December, winning 12 parliamentary seats in a regional election in Andalusia.
Catalonia and beyondOne of Vox’s founding aims was “recentralisation”: rewriting the constitution to abolish regional autonomy and parliaments, a theme that has struck a chord with many after a failed independence bid by Catalonia in 2017 and unrest in the northeast triggered by jail sentences for separatist leaders last month. Positioning itself as vehemently anti-secessionist, it has berated the caretaker Socialist government for making deals with separatists to win their backing in parliament over the past year, and for failing to maintain order in Catalonia.
Franco and Spanish rebirthVox has also capitalised on its opposition to the recent exhumation of Fascist leader Francisco Franco - whose legacy still divides opinion 44 years after his death. Vox’s rhetoric plays with notions of a Spanish “rebirth”, with party leader Santiago Abascal referencing founders of fascist ideology, and Francoist sympathisers have joined its ranks.
Pacts with moderate right
Campaign starSeveral opinion polls identified Abascal as the winner of Monday’s final pre-election debate as he delivered parts of his campaign message - on immigration, Spanish unity and wasteful public spending - largely unchallenged by his four rivals. Spain's election board had blocked Vox from participating in debates before the April eletcion, so that Abascal was addressing such a large audience for the first time, as 8.2 million viewers tuned in.(Full Story here)
SEE ALSO :Luis Enrique reappointed coach by SpainAbascal, 43, is a career politician from the Basque country. Echoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, he has called for a wall to be built around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and paid for by neighbouring Morocco. “I am a supporter of discrimination,” he told 7TV Andalucia in 2017.
Other vox proposals* Intensify diplomatic efforts to return Gibraltar to Spain * Repeal the law that bans Franco-era symbols and envisages compensation to dictatorship’s victims * Ban medical procedures such as gender change and abortion under the public health system
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