Vox holds the key

Politics - June 23, 2023

The results of the recent local and regional elections have shifted the Spanish political landscape to the right, so much, that in a tactical move, the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), called for a snap election to consolidate his waning power, while the parties in the right-wing focus on building coalition governments. But the right, contrary to Sánchez’s expectations, has taken a speedy approach to reaching these agreements.

The Popular Party (PP) and conservative Vox (ECR) are now governing the Valencian Community, once a PSOE stronghold. In its short time, the coalition government has already implemented key policies to revert the impact the pro-independence forces have forced upon the Valencians for decades. Just this week, the new government announced they would cancel the subsidies to these organizations. Due to the national government’s lax stance on these groups, the regions are showing a necessary example in fighting against the separatist trend. For far too long the Socialists have placated to it in detriment of the territorial integrity of Spain. The coalition of right-wing constitutionalist forces proves they must and can be stopped.

Despite this success story, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, the national president of the PP, has adopted a confusing position when forming governments of the autonomous communities where right-wing coalitions are possible. On the weeks following the May 28 regional elections, Feijoo has consistently repeated “the most voted party should be the one to govern”. In the case of the autonomous community of Extremadura (southwestern Spain), following Feijoo’s logic, this would mean the PSOE should govern, even though it does not have enough seats in the regional parliament, and together the PP and Vox, do. Feijoo’s approach neglects the parliamentary nature of our local and national systems of government, where majority and coalition-building ensure the government is made up in the most representative manner possible.

Perhaps his position stems from a fear to be associated with Vox, a party that has been the object of several media attacks and an overall demonization of its image and its leaders’ for their strong conservative positions on immigration, sovereignty and family values. Notwithstanding Feijoo’s reticence, the regional PP parties, like in the Valencian Community, are signaling that they are willing to govern in coalition with Vox, wherever it is possible to reach a majority that will strip power from the left.

More likely than not, Feijoo will be forced to build a coalition government with Vox after the snap elections of July 23, lest the socialists build another coalition government under the leadership of Sanchez. However, there has been speculation that Feijoo, who is expected to win the General Election, will offer the Socialist Party a share of power. This would be a mistake, for it would endorse Sánchez’s nefarious socialist policies that have fostered instability and polarization amongst the Spanish population. During this legislature, an ill-conceived bill full of legal miscalculations has liberated dozens of convicted rapists. Sánchez has also pardoned the seditionists of the 2017 attempted coup in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The PP ought not to be associated with these actions.

Vox is the natural ally of the PP. Its leader, Santiago Abascal, has already offered to “lend a hand” to Feijoo, so long as the PP “respects the voters of Vox” during negotiations.  Shunning Vox for its conservative stances, many of which the PP voters share, is prejudiced. Only together can there be an alternative to the reigning socialist consensus. The outcome in Extremadura will shed some light on the PP’s strategy in the next few days. Let’s hope is the right one for Spain.