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11.11.2019 Europe

France's far-right congratulates Vox party's strong showing in Spain's election

By RFI
OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP
NOV 11, 2019 EUROPE

Spain's general election has left it in a state of political uncertainty for the coming months as the latest polls reflect a widening political divide between those on the left and those on the right.

Sunday's national vote concluded with a growing presence of the far-right in parliament - a first in decades in Spain - and no party with a clear mandate to govern.

The elections were called by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, with the hopes of gaining enough support to form a government after he failed to do so in April's snap election.

But the move proved a miscalculation by Sanchez leaving the country visibly divided.

Left vs Right
The Prime Minister's left-of-centre Socialists won most seats, but fell short of a majority in the 350 seat chamber.

That means if selected to form a government, Sanchez will need to make coalitions and deals across the board if his party wants to have some say in governing the country.

Party secretary Jose Abalos said on Monday that Sanchez will meet with party leaders in the coming days, but coalitions will not be built with anyone from the right.

But right-wing voters gave the Vox party a boost with 52 seats, making it the parliament's third-largest party behind the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party, which took 88 seats.

Far-right power
The gains made by both Vox and the Popular Party are likely in response to Spanish nationalist sentiments that have grown out of the Socialists' handling of the secessionist movement in Catalonia.

In response, Catalan supporters resumed their protests by blocking a major highway border pass between France and Spain, vowing to keep it closed for three days.

Right-wing populist and anti-migrant leaders across Europe celebrated Vox's strong showing.

France's Marine Le Pen, the head of the far-right National Rally party, congratulated Vox leader Santiago Abascal, calling his work impressive and “already bearing fruit after only a few years.”

One analyst told AP that Catalan separatists inadvertently helped give rise to the far-right Vox through its disruption of Spanish politics in its bid for independence.

The far-left party Podemos, lamented on Monday that the polls had in fact created one of the strongest extreme-right fronts in Europe.

Next move
Parliamentarians will need to choose a house speaker in the coming weeks, followed by talks between King Felipe VI and party leaders so that one of them, likely Sanchez in this case, will be asked to form a government.

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