Spain voted on Sunday in an early general election that could require the far-right to govern, despite indications that the conservative Popular Party (PP) would defeat Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists.
PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijoo, a former civil servant, said he hoped “Spain can start a new era” after the vote in Madrid.
Final opinion polls, allowed under Spanish law and published on Monday, indicated the PP was on track to win the most seats in the 350-seat parliament, but fell short of a functional parliamentary majority.
That could prompt the PP to form a coalition with Vox, giving a far-right party a share of power at the national level for the first time since General Francisco Franco’s decades-long dictatorship ended in 1975.
Vox is part of a Europe-wide trend of far-right parties gaining support at the ballot box, with such formations already ruling alone or in coalition with the center-right in Hungary, Italy and Finland.
‘Dark Time Warp’
Mr Sánchez, in office since 2018, warned during a scathing TV debate with Mr Feijou that a PP-Vocs coalition government would “take us into a war of dark times”.
In its election manifesto, Vox pledged to repeal laws on gender-based violence, LGBTQ rights, abortion and euthanasia, outlaw separatist parties and preserve traditions such as bullfighting.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Vox’s agenda “chilling” in an opinion piece published in the French daily. Le MonteIt warns that its entry into government in Spain would “plunge Europe one step further into the right-wing abyss”.
The summer marks the first national elections in Spain’s modern history.
In the last general election in 2019, the turnout was 40.5% till 2 pm, which was 37.9% at the same time. Many voters told Spanish media they voted early to avoid the scorching heat, while electric fans were installed at polling stations to cool people down.