Ahead of Election: Polarized Spain Eyes the Hard-Right
Even before the polls open, political tremors are caused by Sunday’s election in Spain.
For the first time in Spain since the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, a coalition government with a hard-right nationalist party will likely form, according to most analysts.
More left-leaning Spaniards are urgently texting their contacts to vote so that they can “stop the fascists” in their tracks, despite the heat and the fact that many people are on vacation.
The far left is a part of Sanchez’s coalition as prime minister, and the political right has claimed that voters have a choice between Sanchez and Spain. they are suggesting that the nation will disintegrate under another Sanchez administration.
This election season’s rhetoric has been poisonous, and voters’ polarisation has widened. It’s a conflict over principles, customs, and what it means to be Spanish in 2023.
Spain is not alone in having a contentious identity debate of this nature. Consider Brazil, Italy, France, or the US post-Trumpian debate.
However, Spain was already split. It has been since the 1930s civil war and the General Franco-led 40-year dictatorship that followed. There has never been a public discussion about victims and aggressors in this place. Old wounds continue to swell.
At an end-of-campaign rally for Prime Minister Sanchez’s center-left PSOE party on Friday night, Ximo Puig, the former center-left President of Valencia region, told that the hard-right, center-right coalition represented a return to the past, to neo-Francoism.
This week, Mr. Puig was fired after Valencia’s new center-right PP and hard-right Vox governments were sworn in as a result of recent local elections. Many Spaniards think of Valencia as a forecaster for the entire nation.
Vicente Barrera, a former bullfighter from Vox, is currently Valencia’s vice president. Additionally, he defends the Franco regime.
Every night in Valencia’s crowded arena, bullfights have been held to commemorate the summer in Spain’s third-largest city. Women show their appreciation for the colorfully costumed bullfighters below by tossing flowers and fans at them as they tease and mock their horned adversary while a brass band plays to the cries of “Ole!” from the audience.
Vox was actively campaigning just outside the arena, recording party leader Santiago Abascal’s promise to “make Spain great again” on a looping loudspeaker system. Almost all Vox activists steered clear. However, retired man Paco was eager to express his opinions.
Let’s take a look at the economy, nationalism, and sexual consent, Ahead of Spain’s Election
The LGBTQ community and gender issues have emerged as crucial election issues. The left-wing government’s new laws on abortion and transgender rights, which include making it easier for people to change their legal gender, have drawn harsh criticism from opposition parties PP and Vox.
They have also criticized Spain’s divisive “Only Yes Means Yes” law on consent to sexual relations. Over 1,000 convicted rapists received shorter sentences thanks to a loophole in the law that was only passed last August; Mr. Sánchez ultimately had to issue an apology and push for changes.
Some Vox party officials have questioned whether gender violence even exists, which has strained relations with potential conservative allies.
Another hot topic has been nationalism. The PP and Vox have called Mr. Sánchez a “traitor” for freeing political leaders who supported independence from prison and for downgrading secession as a crime.
Targeting the prime minister with a slogan accusing him of depending on separatists to pass important reforms has proven to be one of the right’s most potent strategies.
His alliance with the Basque separatist party Bildu, which is led by Arnaldo Otegi and was imprisoned for crimes by the militant group Eta, has drawn criticism.
The phrase Que te vote Txapote, which translates to “Let Txapote vote for you,” refers to a different Eta militant who committed several lethal terrorist attacks.
Most political parties in Spain are taking action to combat climate change as droughts and heat waves get worse. Only Vox’s electoral program completely omits the topic.
Even though the majority of the campaign has centered on other issues, the economy is still the biggest concern for voters. Spain is experiencing economic expansion, and in June, inflation slowed to below 2%, one of the lowest levels in Europe.
But one of the opposition’s most popular lines of attack against the present administration is the depressing unemployment rate. Spain had the highest unemployment rate in the EU in May (12.7%).
In the 48 million-person nation of Spain, there has never been a general election held so late into the summer when temperatures are at or above 40C. Although the timing of the election has drawn criticism because so many Spaniards are on vacation, 2.6 million voters have opted to mail in their ballots.
Also Read – Saudi navy unveils new combat ship in Spain
Alberto Nez Feijoo’s Popular Party (PP) has its sights set on victory, but they may find it difficult to form a government on its own. They must win more than half of the lower House of Parliament’s 350 seats to win a majority. The upper house will also be decided by Spanish voters.
The result awaited, though!