Anti Separatist Leader Tapped by VOX for European Elections

Politics - March 29, 2024

The Spanish Conservative party VOX tapped Juan Carlos Girauta for its list of the upcoming European elections.

Girauta, a renowned Spanish journalist, intellectual, and a key leader of the (almost) extinct Spanish Citizen’s party (Ciudadanos, Renew Europe) will not officially affiliate to the VOX party.

VOX president, Santiago Abascal, did not demand he join the ranks of the party.

Girauta said he and Abascal shared “programmatic and ideological affinities.”

A former MEP of the Partido Popular (PP, EPP), Girauta said he feels “happy and honoured” with VOX’s trust.

The VOX National Executive Committee ratified this decision on a meeting on Sunday, March 24.

Girauta will be third on the VOX list and run in tandem with current VOX MEPs Jorge Buxade and Hermann Tertsch.

The Secretary General of VOX and Abascal’s right-hand man, Ignacio Gariga, said “tapping Girauta sends a clear message to the Catalonia region.”

According to Garriga, having Girauta as a candidate reaffirms “VOX’s frontal opposition to separatist forces.”

“Girauta joins us for his commitment to freedom, to offer a project where Europe can fight wokeism, and the idea of a Europe of sovereign nations,” Garriga added.

A Barcelona native, Girauta has, for decades, been one loud voice in the fight against Catalan separatism.

Girauta was one of the founders of the liberal Citizens, a party born as a regional force in Catalonia. Their goal was to serve as a “constitution-abiding” counterweight to Catalan separatism.

Soon the party’s appeal made them take the leap into national politics, at one point becoming one of the largest blocs in the Spanish Parliament.

However, the influence of the Citizen’s party started to wane during the tense negotiation process for then acting Prime Minister Sánchez’s bid to make his premiership official.

After leaving the Citizens party in 2020, following the party’s electoral debacle in the November 2019 Spanish General Election, Girauta became increasingly critical of Socialist Prime Minister’s Pedro Sánchez’s dealings with the Catalan separatist parties.

Girauta was also critical of Sánchez’s use of the “state of emergency” powers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Citizens party support for it.

Spain is now going through an unprecedented electoral cycle, with four different elections taking place in less than six months.

In February, the northwestern region of Galicia saw its own regional contests, with a worrisome surge of the separatist party there, the Galician Nationalist Bloc, or BNG.

The Basque Country is scheduled to have its regional elections in mid-April, and Catalonia’s weak and separatist-led minority government called for a snap election to be held in mid-May.

The results of these contests are set to inform the vote of the European elections in June.

The fugitive former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, announced he will run for president of the regional government in May.

Girauta called him a “coup leader gone mad.”

Puigdemont is wanted by the Spanish Justice for his involvement in the 2017 Declaration of Independence.

The Government passed in March a much-opposed Amnesty Law in Congress that, if approved by the Senate, would pardon Puigdemont for his secessionist crimes.

Girauta said last week Sánchez “would be willing to swallow all this.”

Juan Carlos Girauta has been a close collaborator of VOX’s influential think tank Fundación Disenso for some three years now.

Disenso has been leading VOX’s international campaign against the Amnesty of the Catalan separatists.

Not only has Girauta been part of the think tank’s initiatives, including a 2021 forum on “the future of our freedom of expression,” but a professor in Disenso’s flagship ‘Young Leaders of the Iberosphere’ program, a two-week scholarship that prepares current and future Conservative politicians, activists, and cultural leaders of the Americas.

Buxade and Tertsch are also part of this program.