France's far-right congratulates Vox party's strong showing in Spain's election
Spain's general election has left it in a state of political uncertainty for the coming months as the latest polls reflect a widening political divide between those on the left and those on the right.
Sunday’s national vote concluded with a growing presence of the far-right in parliament - a first in decades in Spain - and no party with a clear mandate to govern.
The elections were called by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, with the hopes of gaining enough support to form a government after he failed to do so in April’s snap election.
But the move proved a miscalculation by Sanchez leaving the country visibly divided.
Left vs Right
The Prime Minister’s left-of-centre Socialists won most seats, but fell short of a majority in the 350 seat chamber.
That means if selected to form a government, Sanchez will need to make coalitions and deals across the board if his party wants to have some say in governing the country.
Party secretary Jose Abalos said on Monday that Sanchez will meet with party leaders in the coming days, but coalitions will not be built with anyone from the right.
But right-wing voters gave the Vox party a boost with 52 seats, making it the parliament’s third-largest party behind the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party, which took 88 seats.
The gains made by both Vox and the Popular Party are likely in response to Spanish nationalist sentiments that have grown out of the Socialists’ handling of the secessionist movement in Catalonia.
In response, Catalan supporters resumed their protests by blocking a major highway border pass between France and Spain, vowing to keep it closed for three days.
Antifascist anthem ‘Bella Ciao’ being sung in the highway block by Catalan Democrats after the rising of Fascist parties in Spain. We resisted Franco without Europe’s help and we’ll resist their heirs again. pic.twitter.com/6sa74l8BTMHelp Catalonia 🎗 (@CataloniaHelp1) November 11, 2019
Right-wing populist and anti-migrant leaders across Europe celebrated Vox’s strong showing.
France’s Marine Le Pen, the head of the far-right National Rally party, congratulated Vox leader Santiago Abascal, calling his work impressive and “already bearing fruit after only a few years.”
Le mouvement @vox_es réalise ce soir une progression fulgurante à l’occasion des élections législatives en #Espagne.Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) November 10, 2019
Bravo à son dirigeant @Santi_ABASCAL pour son impressionnant travail d'opposition, qui porte déjà ses fruits après seulement quelques années ! MLP pic.twitter.com/4zO2MzaV4Q
One analyst told AP that Catalan separatists inadvertently helped give rise to the far-right Vox through its disruption of Spanish politics in its bid for independence.
The far-left party Podemos, lamented on Monday that the polls had in fact created one of the strongest extreme-right fronts in Europe.
No party has gained a clear mandate to govern in Spain's 2nd election this year.Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) November 11, 2019
The leader of the United We Can party said the vote had created one of the strongest extreme right fronts in Europe pic.twitter.com/dUGAcglKO4
Parliamentarians will need to choose a house speaker in the coming weeks, followed by talks between King Felipe VI and party leaders so that one of them, likely Sanchez in this case, will be asked to form a government.