Get to know Far-Right Party VOX

Santiago Abascal President of Vox

Santiago Abascal President of Vox. Image: VOX Twitter account

VOX, also known as “The Voice of España Viva,” is a Spanish political party whose primary objective is to challenge the current political model that puts politicians above the interests of the Spanish people. VOX claims to represent the voice of millions of Spaniards who feel their opinions and values are not being adequately represented by other parties. This article will delve into the origins, ideology, and controversial positions of VOX while striving to provide a balanced overview of the party.

Origins and Ideology

VOX was founded in July 2012 by a group of dissatisfied members of the Partido Popular (PP), including Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Santiago Abascal, and José Antonio Ortega Lara. These individuals criticized the PP’s perceived moderation on issues such as traditional values and national unity. Dissatisfied with the party’s direction, they sought to gather the vote of right-wing individuals disenchanted with the PP’s policies. In December 2013, VOX was officially registered as a political party.

Controversial Positions

VOX’s stance on various social issues has drawn criticism and controversy. The party has taken strong positions on civil values and rights, often aligned with the far-right movements in Catholic and orthodox countries. It opposes what it refers to as ‘gender ideology’ and has called for the repeal of the Integral Law against gender violence and the removal of abortion from public healthcare. The party has also been accused of homophobia, with some prominent members making derogatory remarks about the LGBTQ+ community. However, VOX has denied these accusations and stated that it does not despise anyone based on their sexual orientation.

Electoral Performance

In the 2014 European elections, VOX secured 1.57% of the total vote but fell short of winning a seat. The party’s best results were in Melilla and the Community of Madrid, while its worst results were in Cataluña and the Basque Country. Despite this initial setback, VOX continued to gain attention and support in subsequent elections.

Across much of Europe, there has been a surge in support for far-right parties. Spain may soon join the list of European countries with an ultra-conservative party holding significant power, following Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s decision to call a snap general election for July. The mainstream right-wing party, Partido Popular (PP), made significant gains in the regional and local elections held on May 28, but it became clear that they would still need the support or neutrality of Spain’s far-right party, Vox, to govern in important regions and city councils.

While polls suggest that the PP will be the most-voted party in the upcoming general election, they also indicate that the party is unlikely to secure a majority of parliamentary seats. This makes Vox the potential kingmaker of the national government. Oriol Bartomeus, a research professor at the Institute of Political and Social Science at Barcelona’s Universidad Autónoma, believes that Vox will exert pressure on the PP and could demand to be part of the government, based on their regional successes.

The rise of far-right parties in power in European countries such as Italy, where Vox has received support from Italian leader Giorgia Meloni, could work in Vox’s favour. The normalisation of the European far right may aid Vox in their pursuit of being part of Spain’s government. However, PP, possibly wanting to avoid alienating more liberal-minded voters in a country that was ruled by fascist dictator Francisco Franco until the mid-1970s, is determined to distance itself from Vox as a coalition partner for as long as possible. Vox leader Santiago Abascal has repeatedly criticised Sánchez’s government, labelling it as the worst in the last eight decades, surpassing even Franco’s regime.

Criticism and Controversies

VOX has faced criticism for certain campaign strategies and messaging. For example, in the run-up to the April 2019 elections, the party published a tweet featuring a homophobic meme that drew widespread condemnation. The party has also been accused of stigmatising immigrants by presenting misleading information about welfare benefits received by immigrants and associating North African immigration with crime rates in Cataluña. These actions have fuelled debates about the party’s rhetoric and its impact on social cohesion.

VOX has emerged as a force in Spanish politics, advocating for a more conservative and nationalist agenda. The party has gained support from individuals who feel their voices have been overlooked by mainstream parties. While VOX’s positions on certain social issues have drawn criticism and controversy, its rise demonstrates a significant shift in Spanish political dynamics. As with any political party, VOX’s impact and influence will continue to be subject to ongoing debate and scrutiny.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!