by Jorge González-Gallarza
Tuesday, 15
November 2022
Idea
07:15

After Italy and Sweden, will Spain shift Right?

If the country's conservative parties unite, they will be a serious electoral force
by Jorge González-Gallarza
Supporters of Vox gather in Madrid. Credit: Getty

Following her departure from the party, former Vox party stalwart Macarena Olona has decided to take Spain’s culture wars abroad. Through a new non-profit, Olona wants to combat the excesses of feminist ideology across the Spanish-speaking world by advocating for due process for men accused of domestic abuse.

It is a rather surprising turn for someone who shot to fame during a landslide victory in Andalusia’s 2019 elections. But Olona’s failure to capitalise on that election win in June this year portends a bleak scenario for the Spanish Right. Provided that the votes of Right-wing parties Partido Popular (PP) and Vox add up to a majority at the general election next year, it is unclear whether the two will even be able to strike a deal.

As shown by the recent French election, where the splintering of the Right-populist bloc into the respective parties of Zemmour and Le Pen made Macron’s runoff win in May easier, socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s quest for a second term will be aided by a disunited opposition.

But after the electoral upsets that brought together big-tent coalitions of Right-liberals with hardline conservatives in Sweden and Italy, Spain could become the next country where a Left-wing government is replaced by such an alliance. At next year’s general election, a winning coalition of the neoliberal PP and the conservative Vox parties could definitively reaffirm Europe’s Rightward shift by bringing the share of the continent’s people governed by Right-wing ministries close to half.

The two parties share a clearly defined common enemy. Upon taking office in 2018 as part of a coalition with the far-Left Podemos party and a motley assortment of Left-regionalist parties, Sánchez’s government embarked on an agenda that combined the Left’s old-fashioned statism with an emphasis on feminism and environmentalism in social policy.

Sánchez has maintained this uneasy alliance for over four years, but that is partly thanks to the weakness of the Right. The current PM did, after all, rise to power on the back of corruption charges against his predecessor, the PP’s Mariano Rajoy. Rajoy was replaced as party leader by Pablo Casado, who was deemed by Spain’s disaffected voters to be more of the same, thus swelling Vox’s ranks.

Earlier this year, however, Casado was replaced by Alberto Nuñez Feijóo, who is somewhat further to the Right. Feijóo faces a choice: opting for a coalition with Vox patterned on Italy and Sweden, or strong-arming the socialists into defenestrating Sánchez and pursuing a GrosseKoalizione in the style of Olaf Scholz. 

Neither option is ideal. If Feijóo helps sanitise Vox’s image as a junior partner it will dismay centrists within PP, while intra-government clashes over immigration and the EU will still loom over the coalition. If he chooses to Macron-ise Spanish politics by creating the country’s first alliance of the two major parties, this will cast Vox as the only real alternative to the bipartisan stranglehold.

Vox, meanwhile, exudes populist energy but may be hitting a glass ceiling. With all potential former PP voters already in its ranks, some may even be tempted to reverse back to Feijóo’s party.  Most polls give Vox no more than 20% of voting intentions. And in Madrid’s regional election last year, a big win for the lockdown sceptic Isabel Díaz Ayuso, laid bare the PP’s potential to be a rallying force against Sánchez that circumvents Vox altogether.

The dilemma facing Spain as a whole is correspondingly stark. In one scenario, the PP heeds the Von der Leyen-style warning and vows to turn its back on Vox’s national-populism, instead advancing a centrist agenda with a sanitised socialist party (PSOE). Alternatively, the party meets its voters’ expectations by aligning with Vox for a more explicitly Right-wing agenda. 

Which way Feijóo chooses to go will largely depend on Spain’s regions, where PP and Vox govern jointly in Andalucía and Castilla y León, and may do so elsewhere following next year’s regional races in May. It is still too early to say, but after Italy and Sweden, the European Right’s next victory may come from Spain.

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Matt M
Matt M
16 days ago

All countries are swinging right. The only difference is the mechanics of their electoral systems.
The reason is the same in all countries: mass immigration.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
16 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

How will this all end?

Matt M
Matt M
16 days ago

That is the big question Charles. It seems to me that the days of the elite liberal class just ignoring the issue are over. But they are very good at ignoring issues and they might find another way to do so soon. It really only needs all the main parties to ignore the issue at the same time and then the media will ignore it too.
Eventually something will have to give though.

Last edited 16 days ago by Matt M
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
15 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Rather like the issue of EU membership

Chris Taylor
Chris Taylor
15 days ago

Badly! We have a “spiv” Conservative government with MP’s indirectly lining their pockets from immigration and a pathetic Labour opposition who will open the floodgates to buy votes.

margotgorske@gmail.com margotgorske@gmail.com

corrupt countries in civil war end.

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
16 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Mass immigration is inevitable in developed countries, as they are magnets for the desperate and aspirational from poorer, less stable countries.

It should be acknowledged that our health care system would have collapsed years ago without immigrants poached from all parts of the world propping it up. Likewise, the care and hospitality sectors are desperate for relatively unskilled labour.

Obviously we shouldn’t be actively promoting immigration to this country, but we can’t stop it. In an case, many more people arrive and overstay visas, than catch an inflatable boat over the Channel.

Two key considerations for the inevitable immigration:
1. Provide additional housing, schools, hospitals and social provision in areas where these people will live.
2. Expect these immigrants to learn the English language and respect and adapt to the local culture and customs, whilst respecting theirs.

Demographic reality dictates that we have to have immigration to maintain a growth economy, like it or not.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
16 days ago
Reply to  Adam Bacon

That precisely what the fabled Roman Empire thought, but in the end they were overwhelmed and comprehensively destroyed by ‘mass immigration “.
We have been warned.

Matt M
Matt M
16 days ago
Reply to  Adam Bacon

I completely disagree Adam.
Our healthcare system is at the point of collapse precisely because our immigration levels have been so high. One in six people in Britain is now foreign born! We import the population of Newcastle every year! It is impossible to build the number of hospitals, houses and schools in Newcastle every year, even if the space to do so could be found. Just because we employ a lot of foreign born people in the NHS doesn’t compensate for the fact that we treat far, far more immigrants as patients.
We have built care and hospitality industries on the expectation of them employing cheap foreign labour. It is a con that passes the benefits to the business owners and the immigrants while taking from the rest of the public. A care worker earning the minimum wage pays, at most, £4k tax/ NI a year. We spend £14k per person on public services in Britain. That is before you factor in the cost of the police, the civil service, the armed forces, local government etc.
The result is that the government is always having to borrow to make up the deficit and we have sky-high house prices and mile-long waiting lists.
The only solution is to dramatically reduce the number of immigrants coming here each year. The only thing lacking is the political will to do so.
That will change as they are finding out in Sweden, Italy and, according to this article, maybe Spain.
We in Britain are part way through this journey. We voted to leave the EU to stop unlimited numbers of Europeans coming here. We will have to leave the ECHR and UN Convention on Refugees to stop illegal immigrants (so we can automatically reject the asylum application of everyone entering the country illegally). Then it is just a case of raising the minimum salary threshold for work visas and tightening up the family reunion rules.
Sooner or later the Tories will figure out this is the only way for them to survive.

Last edited 16 days ago by Matt M
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
16 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Excellent! Thanks.

R Wright
R Wright
16 days ago
Reply to  Adam Bacon

“Mass immigration is inevitable”
Wrong.

Clara B
Clara B
16 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Yes, this is the reason for the turn to the right. Electorates aren’t daft; they can see the impact mass, uncontrolled immigration has. It’s impossible to have policies on housing, healthcare etc. if immigration’s not sorted out first. Most sensible people realise this (though the liberal intelligentsia don’t like it and we will all be subjected to their ridiculous arguments for some time I fear. The arrival of 1000’s of Albanians on the south coast – none of whom stand a chance of having their asylum claims accepted in Germany or France – has been useful in exposing liberal posturing on this).

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
16 days ago

Frankly after digging up Franco’s body, in an act of unparalleled barbarism (not seen in England for more than three hundred years), it would be an act of ‘divine’ justice if Spain was to swing back to the RIGHT.

Last edited 16 days ago by stanhopecharles344
M. M.
M. M.
16 days ago

Jorge Gonzalez-Gallarza wrote, “The only solution is to dramatically reduce the number of immigrants coming here each year. The only thing lacking is the political will to do so. That will change as they are finding out in Sweden, Italy …”

The Italians appear to have the political will.

In addition to forcing a ship carrying illegal aliens to go to France instead of allowing the ship to unload the aliens onto Italian shores, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy must also distance Italy from the United States, including exiting the American security architecture (which includes the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture will dominate. In California, 40% of the residents are currently Hispanic. Most residents of the state already reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture dominates.

The Italian fate will become the American fate unless Meloni strictly enforces Italian borders.

If she enforces the borders, then Italy will remain a Western nation after the United States ceases to be one. The Italians should build strong ties with Hungary, Poland, and other Western nations that enforce their borders in order to preserve Western culture.

Get more info about this issue.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
15 days ago
Reply to  M. M.

I am an American HS civics & economics teacher. I concur with your dates completely. I teach Lockean liberalism and my students love the idea, but they can’t put it into practice. They believe offensive voices should be silenced. They accept the postmodernist idea that men can become women. They think God is a moralistic killjoy. They believe that the goal of society is maximal individual autonomy. And these are students at a Christian school.

2040 is when these kids will start assuming power. The American Right needs to figure out an answer to postmodernism NOW! Because we will be a race-obsessed, intersectional theocracy by then if they don’t. I do not think the Right will succeed in this, because absent religion only ethno-nationalism can hold a society together, and that’s just wokeness with a different race on top.

The beneficial thing for you Europeans is that a woke obsessed America will be far weaker economically — hiring factory workers and bridge builders by their intersectional victimhood score instead of by ability has foreseeable outcomes. So while we Americans will have to suffer through assembly lines that break and bridges that fall down, at least we’ll be less able to undermine your societies by exporting our bizarre social theories. The downside is you’ll have to start funding your own militaries. If I were you, I’d start now.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
16 days ago

It is about time that this phenomena was re- titled? It is AGAINST the extreme right who are the climate change/racism/ LGBT National Socialists, NOT the free speech freedom of expression majority, who are totally and utterly wrongly labled ” Extreme Right”!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
15 days ago

‘They’ formerly used the term Fascist, but now seem to prefer Extreme Right.
All nonsense really but ‘Commies’ never give up, hence the joy of baiting them?

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
15 days ago

Most of our elites (the uber-educated professional / managerial class) literally don’t know anyone to the right of Macron. No one. Imagine living in a world where Macron was the far right end of your political spectrum and the center was Scandinavian Socialism. If everyone you know is in that range, anyone further right must be w weirdo / dangerous fascist.

We’re all prone to the belief that our own views must be the center But the Professional Managerial Class has placed themselves in such a tight bubble that they don’t realize how divorced they are from the world of the non-college working stiff.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
16 days ago

Considering Spain’s history, I wonder if the Socialists will agree to turn over power to the Republicans cleanly, or try and cling to it like they did in the 30’s.

(I am kidding; the Spanish Civil War was terrible and I have no reason to believe the current Leftist parties would embark on such a path.)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
16 days ago

I admire your confidence, by why should the Spanish NOT behave as the Irish, Serbs,Croats,Slovenes etc, have done in recent years?

Last edited 16 days ago by stanhopecharles344
M. M.
M. M.
16 days ago

Last edited 16 days ago by Matthew M.