Spain: far-right Vox party in turmoil

Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, co-founder and parliamentary spokesperson of Spain's far-right Vox party, has announced that he is leaving politics. Vox's performance in the general election on 23 July was very disappointing for the party, which ended up losing 19 seats. With his departure it loses one of its more moderate representatives. What does this mean for Vox and for Spain's party landscape?

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El País (ES) /

Ultra-liberals no longer fit in here

Vox's structure does not allow for the coexistence of different wings within the party, comments El País:

“Espinosa was the visible head of an ultra-liberal wing oriented on Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan. ... Since the party was founded, this wing has coexisted alongside an ultra-conservative, fundamentalist wing which rejects abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, and also the European construct. ... With the UK's exit from the EU, the ultra-liberals have lost their partners, the Tories, and Vox has moved ever closer to the ultra-Catholic parties. ... In 2019 Vox abolished the primaries for electing candidates for public office, and later the elections for provincial posts. ... Internal democracy is the best system for channelling conflicts. Without it, the tensions accumulate and cause irreparable damage.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Conservatives in a dilemma

Vox has lost its tailwind, notes El Periódico de Catalunya:

“In the previous election cycle Vox was still able to score points with an extremely nationalist and conservative programme thanks to the Catalonia crisis and the weakness of the PP. But these circumstances have now disappeared. ... The PP, which for a long time played the important role of containing the far right, is now also in a position to minimise Vox's political clout and turn the party into a small bastion for extremists. ... The dilemma is whether it should do this by adopting some of the far right's postulates or distance itself from them. And whether it has this much room for manoeuvre as long as both parties are at least tolerating each other in [certain] regional governments.” (ES) /

Today's PP just as right-wing as Vox

Far-right ideas have long since become mainstream, warns

“Due to its lack of liberal political culture, the influence of [dictator Franco's] national Catholic conservatism in its ranks, and its patriotic rhetoric in the Spain and anti-Spain narrative, the conservative PP has adopted much of Vox's ideology. ... It was [PP leader] Alberto Núñez Feijóo who made the far right mainstream. And there is no turning back from this path. ... There is no longer any difference between the right and the far right. ... Vox may disappear, but if we do nothing its ideas will remain and gain traction and hopelessly erode democracy.”