Spain’s far-right Vox poised to join regional governments
Three right-wing political parties, including the extremist Vox, this week reached a deal to choose the new Speaker in Madrid’s regional assembly, which could lead to the selection of a new prime minister and mayor for the region of 7 million.
The centre-right Popular Party (PP), its rival Ciudadanos (Citizens) and far-right Vox have backed Juan Trinidad of Ciudadanos to preside over the regional assembly.
Vox opposes feminism and gay rights and wants tougher action against immigrants. It is expected to play a role in Madrid’s health and education policies, which are largely decided by regional assemblies under Spain’s federal system. Vox has proposed that legislation protecting women from domestic abuse should be scrapped.
Vox was a fringe party seven months ago but in December it made an electoral breakthrough in Andalusia, winning 12 seats. The party, which vehemently opposes Catalan separatism, now supports the ruling PP administration in the southern region but is not in a formal coalition.
Combined European, regional and municipal elections proved inconclusive on May 26 with the Socialists, PP, Ciudadanos, left-wing Podemos and Vox now engaged in discussions over the formation of governments at national, regional and municipal levels all over Spain.
Ciudadanos voted nationally that it would not share power with Vox.
In the Madrid regional assembly, the Socialists received the most votes but secured only 37 seats, well short of the majority of 67.
The Socialists had made it a priority to seize the capital after 24 years of PP rule and their electoral disappointment was a blow to the 47-year-old national prime minister, Pedro Sanchez.
A right-wing government in Madrid’s regional assembly formed by PP with 30 seats, Ciudadanos’ 26 representatives and Vox’s 12 deputies is now seen as the most likely scenario.
A similar deal has been agreed between Vox, the PP and Ciudadanos to control the regional authority in Murcia, southeast Spain.
A role for Vox in regional governments in partnership with Ciudadanos could divide the centrist party, which was set up in 2006 as a pro-market movement. It has moved to the right under its current leader, 39-year-old Albert Rivera.
The PP has been in power in Madrid’s regional assembly since 1995.
At a national level, Sanchez this week secured a deal with left-of-centre Podemos to create a government of “cooperation”. The deal is not a formal coalition and the combined 42 Podemos MPs and the Socialists’ 123 deputies fall short of a majority in the 350-seat lower house.
Spain’s Moroccan enclave of Ceuta. Vox’s growing popularity arose from rising levels of migration from Morocco. Picture credit: Wikimedia