The Battle for the Far-Right Vote in Spain

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This summer’s European Parliament elections are a test for the radical right across the continent – but in Spain, the outcome could determine the future of the country’s main far-right party, Vox. Despite the rise of the far right throughout Europe, Vox haemorrhaged 600,000 votes in Spain’s last general election, and the country’s mainstream right-wingers are trying to keep up the pressure.

In Madrid, members of Spain’s longstanding conservative Popular Party (PP) are conducting a membership drive, calling on voters to join the “Ayuso Team.” The phrase refers to Isabel Díaz Ayuso, one of the PP’s most popular leaders and President of the Community of Madrid. She won the presidency in the regional elections in 2019, in a campaign that made her the first conservative leader to curb Vox’s rise.

The Battle for the Far-Right Vote in Spain

Ayuso’s Strategy and Challenges

Ayuso's Strategy and Challenges

Ayuso has managed to snatch thousands of votes from the far-right party by adopting such narratives as the defence of economic freedom, like Argentina’s president, Javier Milei, and the defence of the unity of Spain in the face of regional separatism. She has also waged a cultural battle against leftist parties, a strategy that caters to Vox’s conservative target voters.

The Battle for the Far-Right Vote in Spain

“I am convinced that the Vox voter has the same concerns and tastes as I do,” said PP member Luis Monedero. “So if he wants his demands to be carried out, he should cast a strategic vote and really vote for the party that will take them and implement them in the European Parliament.”

However, there is a gap between Ayuso’s muscular discourse and the more moderate positions of the PP’s national leader, Alberto Núñez Feijoo. The party faces a serious challenge as it tries to attract Vox voters without alienating centre-right voters.

Andrés Santana, Professor of Political Science at the Autonomous University of Madrid, told Euronews that “Vox will need more than just attracting disenchanted voters. They will have to show that their vote is really more attractive to those voters who once left the PP.”

Supporters of far-right Vox party wearing Spanish flags over their shoulders stand outside the party headquarters in Madrid.

Vox has not had its last word. For one thing, the recent farmers’ protests sweeping across Europe could boost the party in this summer’s continent-wide elections. It withstood the PP’s onslaught in recent Basque regional elections – and however successful the PP’s efforts to monopolise the mainstream vote, is expected that the party will at least improve on its showing in the 2019 European elections and finally consolidate itself as Spain’s third political force.

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