EXPLAINER – Who should you vote for in Spain’s local elections­?

Your vote matters - Credit Stunning Art / Shutterstock.com

Foreigners resident in Spain for more than three years are able to vote in local elections, but just who you should vote for is a mystery for most.

Spain like the UK is a parliamentary monarchy that has a multi-democracy system that was introduced following the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. The actual constitution was agreed upon in 1978 since when the government has been stable, usually being ruled by a coalition.

Every region throughout Spain has its own subtleties when it comes to politics, culture and food and so one will have to do some more homework locally, but here is a brief outline of the main political parties and what they stand for.

  1. Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE): The PSOE is a centre-left party that has governed Spain for much of the democratic era. Its main policies include a commitment to social justice, equality, and the welfare state. The party supports progressive taxation, the right to collective bargaining, and the protection of workers’ rights. It also supports the integration of Spain into the European Union and the promotion of international cooperation.
  2. Popular Party (PP): The PP is a centre-right party that has also held power in Spain for several years. Its main policies include a commitment to free enterprise, fiscal conservatism, and individual freedom. The party supports lower taxes, less government regulation, and a smaller welfare state. It is pro-EU and supports the integration of Spain into the European Union.
  3. Podemos: Podemos is a left-wing party that emerged in 2014 and has gained significant support in recent years. Its main policies include a commitment to social justice, equality, and the welfare state. The party supports higher taxes on the wealthy, the expansion of the welfare state, and the protection of workers’ rights. It is also critical of the European Union and has called for a more democratic and transparent EU.
  4. Ciudadanos: Ciudadanos is a centrist party that has also gained significant support in recent years. Its main policies include a commitment to liberal democracy, individual freedom, and the rule of law. The party supports lower taxes, less government regulation, and a smaller welfare state. It is pro-EU and supports the integration of Spain into the European Union.
  5. Basque Nationalist Party (PNV): The PNV is a regional party that represents the interests of the Basque people in the Basque Country and Navarre. Its main policies include a commitment to Basque cultural autonomy, the promotion of the Basque language and culture, and the protection of the environment. The party is pro-EU and supports the integration of Spain into the European Union, but it also advocates for greater autonomy for the Basque region.
  6. Vox: Vox is a far-right, nationalist and conservative political party in Spain. It was founded in 2013 by Santiago Abascal, a former member of the People’s Party, and has become known for its hardline stance on issues such as immigration, Islam, and Spanish nationalism. The party has gained significant support in recent years, particularly in the 2019 Spanish general election, where it won 24 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 12 seats in the Senate. Vox has been described as populist and has been compared to other far-right parties in Europe, such as the National Front in France and the Alternative for Germany.

Not all of these parties will be represented locally and there will be others, so you may have to do your homework to find who you should vote for. But the important message this Christmas is to get out vote, your’s will make a difference.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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