The Rise of Spain’s ‘Vox’ Party

Elections, European Politics, Immigration, Nationalism, Rundown, Spain

A recent regional election in Spain saw the right-wing party Vox win 12 parliamentary seats, 7 more than expected. This may not seem particularly significant, however it marks the first time right-wing parties have held a majority of seats in the southern Spanish region in over 30 years.

The Socialist Workers’ Party or PSOE normally performs very well but managed to hold onto only 33 seats, the worst result in its history. This small but significant victory for Vox has got many established parties concerned in Spain, especially the powerful Socialist parties that have historically run Spain.

Vox was founded on the 17th of December 2013 by former members of the Peoples Party. The term Vox is Latin for voice and pronounced ‘boks’ in Spanish.

The parties founding had a lot to do with violence perpetrated by the Basque separatist group the ETA, who were perpetrating terrorist attacks in an attempt to achieve independence for the Basque region in Spain. Vox took a hard-line stance on the notions of Basque and Catalan independence, rejecting them entirely.

The party’s policies are anti-mass migration, anti-multiculturalism, and Eurosceptic, although there’s no indication Spain would leave the EU should Vox win a majority in parliament. They also want to repeal the gender violence law, stating that its sexist in nature and should be more equal to all Spaniards, male and female.

Another interesting policy Vox seeks to implement is its national heroes plan which seeks to encourage knowledge and awareness of Spain’s national identity and its contribution to civilization and world history.

However, what could be considered one of its most, if not its most, fundamental policies is its rejection of Spain’s current governmental system and its support for a more centralized system of governance.

The rise of Vox is something many predicted would occur. Other right-wing anti-mass migration parties throughout Europe have seen surges in the number of people supporting and voting for them.

The interesting thing about the rise of Vox has to do with the state in which Vox enjoys the most support, Andalucía. Geographically, Andalucía is the southernmost region in Spain and has seen the largest number of migrants from Africa and the Middle East come through the region.

These numbers were only exacerbated when Italy’s Matteo Salvini rejected the Aquarius NGO rescue ship and Pedro Sanchez, Spains Prime Minister, decided to accept it, allowing it to offload the migrants on board in Valencia.

As Italy has essentially shut its borders to migrants after the recent elections, they’ve turned to Spain, perceiving it as the new entrance way to Europe, especially after it accepted the Aquarius.

This massive increase in the number of migrants coming through Andalucía has spurred on support for Vox and other parties taking a more hard-line stance on mass-migration.

According to polls, Vox could form part of a national government if an election were held today. The polls show that the PSOE would win the largest number of votes, but not a majority, and would have to form a coalition with other left-wing parties in order to form a functioning government.

However, the Partido Popular (PP) Party, a conservative centre-right party, could also form a functioning government if it aligns with both the Ciudadano’s Party and Vox. The polls show PSOE with 24.1% of the vote, PP with 21.2%, Ciudadano’s with 18.4%, Unidos Podemos with 16.7% and Vox with 9.2%.

These polls are surprising to say the least. Vox has gone from a relatively unknown party to a political force capable to gathering almost 10% of the Spanish vote and potentially becoming a part of a coalition that runs Spain, and its achieved this in only 5 years.

The populist movements throughout Europe may finally have reached Spain should the trends continue in the direction they’re heading.