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Spanish Elections Pose Huge Test for Resurgent Right in Europe

Posted on Friday, July 21, 2023
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by Ben Solis
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39 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

Europe

Voters in Spain will head to the polls on Sunday in what could be another major victory for the suddenly resurgent conservative movement in Europe.

In recent decades, Spain has become synonymous with “progressive” governance, and now has some of the most liberal policies anywhere in the world. But an illegal immigration crisis, high unemployment, and general cultural decay as a result of far-left policies have presented Spain’s conservative faction with a new opportunity to win power in Madrid.

Current Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called Sunday’s vote following the dismal performance of his Spanish Socialist Workers Party in local elections in May. The rival Popular Party (PP), a traditional Christian Democratic party in Spain, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, is projected to earn the most votes and displace Sánchez.

But it is the performance of another party – Vox – which will be the most interesting to watch on election night. In the May elections, Vox, which unabashedly defends nationalist conservative interests, nearly doubled its vote share to 7.2 percent, handing the party critical negotiating power in forming governing coalitions in many localities.

Polls are now predicting that Vox could earn as much as 15 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections. If those predictions are correct, it would mean that PP would need the support of Vox to form a government – handing the conservative group significant leverage in national politics for the first time.

Vox was first established as a conservative populist alternative party in 2013. For years, many conservatives in Spain and throughout Europe had felt that even the nominally right-wing parties failed to represent their interests.

Instead, European politicians on both sides of the political aisle aligned with each other, big business, and academia. This phenomenon grew worse with the increasing power of the European Parliament, which sought to limit the autonomy of individual countries in the E.U.

Yet instead of the peace and prosperity promised by the international wealth funds who controlled politicians in Brussels and European capitals, local industry and economies were destroyed. European elites became obsessed with trendy new issues like promoting “equity” and “combatting climate change” – forgetting the cultural and economic foundations upon which Western civilization was built.

In response, traditional conservatives throughout Europe have over the past decade or so begun forming new parties that actually fight for their interests. The elites, recognizing the threat to their hold on power, have tried to make “populist” into a bad word and slander these parties as “fascist.”

In Spain, conservatives established Vox in response to the failures of the PP. Jorge Buxade, Vox’s vice president of political action and the head of the party’s delegation to the European Parliament, described Vox’s role as a “defender of the middle classes and equality of the Spanish people.”

Theoretically, Buxade explained, PP should be Vox’s ideological partner, but the reality is much different: “In the European Parliament, Spanish Christian Democrats vote like socialists nearly 90 percent of the time. The PP is co-responsible for the disaster at home.”

The country’s immigration policy is just one example of the disaster Buxade is referring to. Illegal immigration spiked by 51 percent in 2021, before dipping slightly in 2022. Those numbers are in addition to the fact that the Spanish government welcomes nearly everyone as a “refugee.”

Illegal immigration is also impacting Spain’s important tourism industry, as many resort towns have devolved into chaos and violence. Spain has become a haven for North African mafias who often threaten and clash with police, leading many tourists to look elsewhere for their holidays, decimating the local economies of coastal towns.

While Vox has called for much more stringent immigration laws – including mass deportations and a closure of the border – PP sees the issue as only an “efficiency” problem, ignoring the discussion about fundamental failures of open borders policies. In this, Vox has channeled other populist leaders from around the world, including former U.S. President Donald Trump.

PP has also largely embraced the left’s fearmongering about “climate change,” to the detriment of Spain’s rural economy. New water restrictions have decimated farms throughout the country, starving crops during summer months.

PP representatives in the European Parliament also voted for the so-called “Agenda 2030,” which forces E.U. members to “restore nature” on “one-fifth of their land and sea” by the year 2030. For Spain, that will mean liquidating thousands of hectares of farms and the destruction of dams which provide vital irrigation.

While PP has not been a major driver of these failures, they have nonetheless often been complicit in them – leading many voters to shift their support for Vox.

Vox has also found an opening with voters by talking about Spain’s severe unemployment crisis, particularly among young people. According to Eurostat, an E.U. statistics agency, the youth unemployment rate in Spain is the highest in Europe at 14.5 percent – roughly three million people, compared to 1.3 million in Germany, which has a higher population than Spain.

Also according to Eurostat, salaries for young professionals in Spain have not exceeded the minimum wage since 2020.

But PP has opposed most of Vox’s more conservative proposals, including one that would prohibit so-called “gender transition” treatments from being covered under the public healthcare system. Currently, Spain has some of the most liberal transgender laws in the world, and children as young as 16 can legally change their gender without parental consent.

However, Vox’s messaging is clearly breaking through with Spanish voters, as the party has steadily risen in the polls. During the final televised debate, Vox leader Santiago Abascal channeled the frustrations of many Spaniards by accusing Prime Minister Sanchez of “[wanting] to hide the reality: that we are poorer, less free, and more divided.”

It was in that moment, declared ABC commentator Adolfo Garrido, that Abascal won the debate.

Other conservatives throughout Europe clearly recognize the magnitude of Spain’s elections, and are urging voters to turn out in support of Vox. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said last week that Spain’s elections will represent “a change in the politics of Europe.”

“It is crucial that a conservative, patriotic alternative be established,” Meloni said. “Europe needs to become aware of its role and influence again to be a political giant instead of a bureaucratic one.”

On July 23, the world will see if the Spanish people will take one more step toward making that vision a reality.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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Paul
Paul
9 months ago

I am glad Amac calls Vox Conservative party. Even The Wall Street Journal followed slam media labeling them “far right.” They also became virulently anti-Trump, nearly like WaPo.
Yes, these are critically essential elections for the U.S. If Biden loses Spain in the EU, it will be harder for him to impose his decision on Europe. And more countries will fall out. The polls are still in Poland this autumn. So far, the most vital alternative to that mess was Hungry, Poland, and Italy. The rest of the so-called right is too soft on the left.

Jack
Jack
9 months ago

The present regime in Spain is good friends with all tyrants in our south- from Cuba with Castros through Venezuela with Maduro deep down to Brazil with Lula. Trump appreciated Vox last year or so. I saw him on Newsmax talking via video at the party’s rally. Vox supports all Trump policies and wants to end the dictate of globalists. Four European Prime Ministers appealed to Spanish people to vote for Vox.
Amac, thanks for this article – it is crucial since it clarifies information on Vox. 

Ronda Soi
Ronda Soi
9 months ago

Thank God Amac still publishes good reports on foreign affairs. I enjoyed it. As I mentioned to my number, the style reminded me of Human Events (it does not exist anymore). It was Ronald Reagan’s favorite medium. I have just donated to Amac to help it in these difficult times. If you are a reader, you should do it. There is no such thing as free lunch, someone said. We helped our foundations and groups regularly. I subscribed our family to two newspapers, four magazines, and two magazines for our children. We also bought a Conservative Books subscription. 
We voted twice for Reagan. At that time, we understood differently American people’s engagement in the world. How the people lived in Europe, also behind the Iron Curtain, mattered to us. Reagan himself, in his radio programs, often talked about the persecution of the freedom fighters who waged wars with Communist Russia and the cowardliness of the West. Dozens of missions and foundations provided truth about Soviet Communism. We were not indifferent. Churches and private groups helped. We had regular discussions and later even talk shows on the radio. It was a part of something I call Conservatism.
Today we must restore this thinking as a similar, or maybe more powerful, threat is looming over our Western civilization and America.
I will keep Spanish people in my prayers as they vote on Sunday. They need God’s wisdom. I agree that this vote will have consequences for us.

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 months ago

Europe became EU to diminish individual nations Brussels rules so Germany does not look like 4th Reich

Liberty-lover-anticommunist
Liberty-lover-anticommunist
9 months ago

Being pro-family, low taxes, fewer regulations, and bureaucracy does not make any party far right. By this, they mean, of course, ‘fascist.’ But anyone who understands history knows that Franco left Spain prosperous. But like Pinochet, he had to purge radicals. Communists fought against Franco, not any good people. Spain has the right to truthful, accurate history as anyone else. American Left should stay away. Vox will be a good partner for Trump.

Paul Frank S
Paul Frank S
9 months ago

I also donated to Amac as someone reminded us. Thanks for your service.
Friends, we must keep this great website online, it cannot be done by itself.
By the way, I voted for Reagan, too. I will vote for Trump with closed eyes. I cannot see anyone matching his resolve, clarity of the program (which reminds me of Reagan), and boldness.
His critics are deadly wrong. I can see that even Washington Times is hostile to Trump. But they also betrayed Reagan on a few occasions – for instance, on the Iran-Contra hoax. They stood for Democrats’ preached “justice.” Even earlier, they stood more for Perestroika than for Reagan.
The remaining candidates should wait for another occasion.

Jude
Jude
9 months ago

We are not the center of the world. Spain matters to us with its links to Latin America. It would be fantastic to have Conservatives in the government there. As we suggested, the EU could exist as an economic community, not as this socialist conglomerate. I wish Vox would achieve good results. And God bless Donald Trump. Let him be our President again.

Eve Patricia U.
Eve Patricia U.
9 months ago

Global socialism must crash; otherwise, we will be strangled entirely. Spain needs to restore its Christian roots. The Conservative Party is well equipped to do it. When the wokeism starts losing there, finishing it here will be easier. Biden’s decision must be reversed as he did it with everything good that Trump instituted. On day one, all Bidenism must be washed.

Mark V
Mark V
9 months ago

I pray that God will give them victory over this oppression. I hope they will choose Liberty this Sunday.

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
9 months ago

The right surges when the left becomes too “pushy”. (Gross understatement)

Paul Frank S
Paul Frank S
9 months ago

“Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” – Reagan said at the beginning of his ascent on the national political scene. I dedicate it to all of us, explicitly having good Spanish people in mind. I join those who pray for Spain these days.

Oldrealist
Oldrealist
9 months ago

USA conservatives face the same problem with the Republican party.
Given the near impossibility of starting a third party under our “winner take all” system, our only hope is to get active in the Republican party and rip control out of RINO hands.
MAGA people need to win County, State and National GOP positions to do this.
It starts with the precinct level caucuses that elect delegates to county conventions.
With less than 1% of voters attending precinct caucuses, it’s a
GREAT WAY TO MULTIPLY YOUR POWER IN THE GOP.

william
william
9 months ago

The press loves to talk about far right voting in europe and implies facist/racist.
Reality is the far right parties in Europe would be considered centrist or even democratic here in USA. Politics in eu is mostly far left to center right with that center right being called far right.

Dave
Dave
9 months ago

The left has gone too, too far. Let’s hope that the pendulum doesn’t swing to far the other way, like it did in the ’30s.

Jeri
Jeri
9 months ago

real life out of the basement, graduated from college, marriage and throw in a baby tends to cause a change in heart away from liberal thinking.

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