July 17, 2024

Why did the shift to the right fail?

Why did the shift to the right fail?

Tortured ‘victory pose’: Vox coach Santiago Abascal had nothing to smile about on Sunday.Photo: Cornerstone

analysis

The expected shift to the right in the elections in Spain did not happen. In fact, the far-right Fox is the biggest loser. This shows the limits of radical populism.

07/24/2023 at 3:50 PM7/24/2023, 4:30 p.m

Peter Bluntchi
Peter Bluntchi

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Once again, the surveying institutes were wrong. Ahead of Sunday’s Spanish parliamentary elections, they predicted a victory for the right-wing camp and a majority for the conservative People’s Party along with the far-right Vox. But the shift to the right did not happen. A majority for a right-wing government is not in sight.

The People’s Party and its leader Alberto Núñez Fijo are in first place, but at the same time no party has lost more votes and seats in the Chamber of Deputies than the Vox party. The “secret” winner of the election is the current Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. A socialist can form a government with the support of regional and separatist parties.

Socialist workers party supporters cheer as they wait for Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez outside the party headquarters in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, July 23, 2023. Spa ...

Joy among socialist supporters: your party has done better than expected.Photo: Cornerstone

Sánchez’s poker game with an early election during the holiday season has worked at least in part, even if there is speculation about another election in the winter. But there is still a lot in the balance, and a certain amount of confusion among early analysts about the Spanish election can be seen. It is difficult to understand the result.

The majority is against Vox’s participation

Pointed out, for example, is the increasingly intense election campaign of the Vigo conservatives, which eventually drifted into Trumpism, with the People’s Party attempting to cast doubt on the outcome beforehand. Oddly enough, Vox’s miserable performance has not yet been an issue. Right-wing extremists lost 19 of the 52 seats in parliament.

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This collapse is not entirely unexpected. An opinion poll published two weeks before the election showed More than 60 percent of respondents are concerned about Vox’s involvement in government. The experiences of those regions and municipalities already governed by Vox with the People’s Party contributed to this.

Against women’s and gay rights

There have been repeated attempts at censorship, which is why cultural figures such as director Pedro Almodóvar called on the population to go to the polls and to fend off the “conservative attack”.. In addition, even compared to similar parties in Europe, Vox has a radical platform and wants to reverse women’s and LGBT rights.

Spain has made great progress in these areas in recent years. A backlash that threatens to slide to the right likely sparked a backlash against right-wing extremists and ultimately deterred would-be Vox voters. A more detailed assessment of Sunday’s results could provide information.

Like the Republicans in the middle of the state

Such a setback would not come as a surprise. US Republicans had the same experience in last November’s midterm elections. Also at that time, polls indicated a “red tsunami”. In the end, they won a slim majority in the House of Representatives, with the Senate still democratically controlled.

One of the main reasons came from polls on polling day. In addition to high inflation, the issue of abortion was named as the most important motivation for participation in the elections. Six months ago, the Supreme Court overturned the national right to abortion that had existed for nearly 50 years.

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some understood

The enduring anger of many American women at this ruling was underrepresented in opinion polls. Perhaps something similar happened in Spain. What is clear, however, is that right-wing populists are entering mined territory when they try to attack the rights of women and sexual minorities.

Vice-chairman of the right-wing political party Alternative for Germany (AfD), Alice Wedel, right, speaks to her partner, Swiss film producer Sarah Bossard during the 35th session of the traditional Swiss People's Congress...

Alice Weidel (right) and her partner Sarah Boussard give the AfD a progressive face.Photo: Cornerstone

Some understood that. They argue against the alleged wave of discontent, but have so far shied away from drastic measures. This applies to the right-wing government in Italy as well as to the longtime Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. The AfD even “adorns” itself with its co-chair Alice Wedel.

The Republicans are continuing on an extreme path

That may be difficult for others, such as the ruling national conservative, Poland’s Law and Justice party. She has passed a near-total ban on abortion and may lose the upcoming election, which is likely to be held in October. In the United States, too, Republicans are sticking to their “crusade” against unwanted pregnancy.

In Iowa, which was previously known to be rather mild, they recently decided to ban abortions from the sixth week of pregnancy. It was banned in court. Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has blocked military promotions for weeks because the military is overwhelmingly pro-abortion.

Critics warn that this radical course once again threatens the Republicans with defeat in the 2024 elections. Vox’s losses in Spain are another indicator. No one should underestimate right-wing populists. But if they overdo it, they reach their limits – as long as the foundations of democracy are intact.

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Riots in Barcelona

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Riots in Barcelona

Source: epa / efe / alberto estevez

Catalonia declares its independence

Video: srf

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