Spain is gearing up for a crucial snap general election that presents the nation with a stark choice between the left and right blocs. Set to take place on Sunday; this election holds the potential for the far-right to secure a place in government for the first time since General Franco’s death almost five decades ago. The opposition conservative People’s Party (PP) is predicted to lead the polls. Still, projections suggest they may fall short of an absolute majority. The election has been fiercely contested, and recent campaign mishaps have added tension to an already heated race.
1. PP Struggles in Final Campaign Days
The conservative People’s Party, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has faced challenges in the campaign’s closing days. After untrue claims regarding the party’s track record on pensions, Feijóo faced criticism for commenting with a sexist undertone regarding Spain’s deputy prime minister and labour minister, Yolanda Díaz. Additionally, renewed questions have arisen concerning Feijóo’s past association with a man convicted of drug trafficking, which he vehemently denied. These developments have impacted the PP’s standing in the race.
2. Spain’s Political Landscape and the Role of the Far-Right
The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) called for the snap election after disappointing results in the regional and municipal elections. Polls suggest the PP will emerge as the frontrunner yet likely fall short of the majority required for an outright win. Consequently, forming a government may require support from the far-right Vox party, currently the third-largest grouping in Congress. The PP has previously entered into regional coalition governments with Vox, hinting at a potential alliance in the future.
3. The Battle of Ideologies
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has framed the election as a clash between progressive forces represented by the PSOE and its left-wing Sumar alliance, including Podemos, and the regressive conservatism of the PP. He accused the PP of normalizing Vox’s denial of human-driven climate change and gender-based violence through alliances with the far-right. Meanwhile, Feijóo has depicted the PP as the party of change, seeking to dismantle what he calls “schism” and promoting a constitutional, market economy and pro-business agenda.
4. Issues at the Forefront
The economy has emerged as the primary concern for Spanish voters, followed by unemployment and healthcare. Surprisingly, immigration, a recurring theme for Vox, ranks as a significant concern for only a small percentage of the electorate. The Sumar alliance seeks to appeal to voters with a green agenda and the promise of a €20,000 “universal inheritance” for young Spaniards. Meanwhile, Vox aims to gain ground by focusing on culture wars, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and defending rural Spain’s interests.
Spain stands at a crossroads as it approaches the snap general election. The outcome holds immense significance for the country’s political landscape, as the far-right seeks to make inroads into the government for the first time since the end of Franco’s rule. The PP’s struggle in the final campaign days and the possibility of a coalition government with Vox adds uncertainty to the electoral outcome. The election’s results will shape Spain’s future trajectory as the nation decides between progressive and conservative ideologies.