Why did the Andalusians vote for far-right Vox?

Andalusia was a Socialist stronghold, but Sunday's elections saw Prime Minister Sánchez's PSOE lose a considerable proportion of the vote and Vox become the first far-right party to gain seats in a Spanish parliament since the end of the France era. Commentators discuss how Vox is luring voters disappointed by the established parties.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Left parties have disappointed their voters

The shift to the right in Andalusia is not primarily driven by migration, Der Standard comments:

“Many who had broken with the Social Democrats stayed at home or defected to Vox; the flood of refugees didn't play a central role on that score. What happened in Andalusia is more reminiscent of the US, where the Democratic elite disappointed so many people that they either didn't vote or voted for Trump. Unlike Vox, Podemos lost touch with this new trend. The left alternatives aged quickly - too quickly. After internal disputes those who took over allowed their movements' fresh wind to degenerate into an old-orthodox mild breeze by joining forces with the post-communists and disappointing many of their voters.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Separatists created their own opponent

Martin Dahms, Spain correspondent for the Frankfurter Rundschau, explains how Vox's victory in Andalusia is connected to Catalonia:

“Vox's breakthrough is collateral damage from the Catalonian independence process. You could sense that something like this was in the offing in 2017 after the illegal referendum on October 1, when Spanish flags were flown in the rest of the country. The sudden flare of patriotism never died down, and the Spanish right continued to fan it until enough Spaniards were convinced that the time for a right-wing nationalist party had come. This is the end of the Spanish exception. The separatists now have the opponent they'd always evoked.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Against women and foreigners

Vox took advantage of the usual resentments, La Repubblica believes:

“An age-old feeling dressed up in new clothes: Spain for the Spanish. Long live the king. Death to 'los moros', the foreigners. Women must stay where they belong. At the same time we should remember that voter turnout was very low. The true winner is the party of non-voters. Those who have turned away in disappointment from the leftist government and from Rajoy's conservatives, which are both equally corrupt. But that's a story that's the same everywhere.”

El País (ES) /

Spanish democracy in its death throes

El País laments that shortly before the 40th anniversary of Spain's first democratic constitution on December 6 a far-right party has scored such a victory:

“That Vox is an anti-democratic party is obvious because its programme discriminates against immigrants and aims to abolish laws for equal rights for women and against domestic violence. ... Yet despite all this the centre-right parties are opening the doors for Vox and thus giving it legitimacy. ... But they're not the first to do so: Sánchez's PSOE didn't hesitate to legitimise the anti-constitutional Catalan separatism when it accepted their votes in the no-confidence vote. ... And all this on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the constitution, when we have nothing to celebrate because Spanish democracy is in a crisis to which there is no solution.”

Público (PT) /

Cards are being reshuffled

From now on five parties will be vying for votes in Spain, Público observes:

“The results of the ultra-right Vox in Andalusia took all the parties and analysts by surprise. Surveys showed that there was a possibility of the far-right party winning seats in the Andalusian parliament, but no one expected them to exceed the 10-percent mark and thus change Spain's entire party landscape. From now on five parties will be vying for votes. ... The rules have changed. Just as the crisis of the established parties led to the rise of the protest party Podemos on the left side, this same crisis is now bolstering a very different kind of populism on the far right. The impact of these regional elections doesn't just affect Andalusia, they will also affect Spain and Europe - in the European elections in May.”

El País (ES) /

Now Spain has its own far-right party

The success of the far right Vox party in regional elections in Andalusia was just the beginning, El País believes:

“These elections have demonstrated that the conservative vote is growing significantly - with consequences for all Spain. A far-right party with an as yet unclear profile is gaining a foothold in Spanish institutions. It aligns Spanish radical nationalism with the rise of parties like Marine Le Pen's Front National - which was quick to congratulate Vox's leader - and with Matteo Salvini's Lega in Italy and the AfD in Germany. Vox is not an Andalusian party but has national ambitions, and its entry into the Andalusian parliament sets the stage for a year in which local, regional, European and possibly also general elections in Spain will take place.”

eldiario.es (ES) /

Conservatives betraying the country

eldiario.es is appalled to see that the conservative People's Party is toying with the idea of entering a coalition with Vox:

“Now it's clear that the PP sees the far right as a perfect and legitimate coalition partner for winning the next general election. ... Forget about defending the basic values of a liberal democracy. Forget about stopping the far-right populists. The PP has chucked everything the leaders of conservative parties in countries like Germany or France maintained in the bin. ... Party leader Pablo Casado has opted for the Austrian approach: there, the right is governing with the far-right FPÖ, a party founded by a Nazi who was a member of the SS.”