FAR-right populist party Vox has made a breakthrough in the regional parliament of Andalusia in southern Spain, winning 12 seats when it had been expected to only pick up five.

It was the first far-right electoral success in Spain since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and the latest in a nationalist surge that has swept across Europe.

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Vox was founded in December 2013 pledging to “make Spain great again”, although it has failed to make an impact until Sunday night’s results from Andalusia. It has been labelled populist, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam but its leader Santiago Abascal believes its surge in support has come because the party is “in step with what millions of Spaniards think”.


PRIME Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) were in charge, but they could lose control after the centre-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) Party ruled out entering into a coalition with them. PSOE topped the poll, but Vox has weakened their position.

Citizens’ Juan Marin rejected a coalition with the PSOE and told national radio he would present himself to lead Andalusia after his party won 21 seats in the 109 seat parliament: “We won’t support a government of (regional Socialist leader) Susana Diaz or with the Socialist party. They’ve lost the confidence of the Andalusia people and so that possibility doesn’t exist.”

The Socialists took 33 seats – not enough to form a government without a coalition – the conservative People’s Party (PP) took 26 and left-wing Adelante Andalucia took 17.


AS you might expect people such as France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen welcomed the result. She tweeted: “Strong and warm congratulations to my friends from Vox, who tonight in Spain scored a meaningful result for such a young and dynamic movement.”

Its success is partly due to its call for tougher immigration controls – but it has gone further than mainstream unionist parties on Catalonia, calling for tougher action against the indy movement. It is even involved in the pending legal action against jailed Catalan leaders and public figures. Vox’s manifesto includes deporting all undocumented immigrants, building an “impassable wall” on the border with Africa, suspending Catalan self-rule, and banning any party or organisation defending independence.

Catalan foreign minister Alfred Bosch described its members as “male chauvinists, racists, and anti-Europeans”. President Quim Torra, tweeted: “Tonight, more than ever, it’s either freedom or freedom.”

El Nacional typified the Catalan press’s response to the “ultras” in Barcelona, claiming the Madrid media’s reporting of the victory had “normalised” Vox.