1. Spain is no longer an exception – a far-right party has come to stay!
While neoconservative and far-right parties have made significant electoral gains across Europe in the last decade, Spain was considered “The exception” due to its immunity to the appeal of right-wing populism following the Franco dictatorship. However, in the last regional elections held in Andalusia in December 2018, a new anti-immigration, anti-feminist and eurosceptic party emerged. Vox, a political party created back in 2013, exceeded all expectations by obtaining over 10% of the votes and 12 seats in the new regional government.
The party has already made its first controversial public appearance in Brussels, when its Secretary General, Javier Ortega, was invited to the European Parliament to speak about the situation in Catalonia. In Europe, the party has started to make friends, from Marine Le Pen, who took the opportunity to congratulate her “Vox Friends” on Twitter after the Andalusian elections, to Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the Polish national-conservative Law and Justice party, with whom Vox had already held several meetings.
2. A crucial year for internal politics
The European elections are not the only ones taking place in Spain this year. After his proposed budget was rejected, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez decided to call a snap general election for 28 April, just eight and a half months after he had taken power. Regional elections in 12 of the 17 autonomous communities and local elections across Spain are also happening on the same day as the European elections on 26 May. With four elections in two months, the heated debate about Catalonia together with the “Spanish unity” will continue to be at the heart of the political campaign.
3. Spanish Socialists lead in polls
While there has been a huge decline in the appeal of social democrat parties across Europe, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) seems to reverse this trend. According to the latest polls, they stand to not only win the European elections, but also be the largest delegation within the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament with 19 seats. The European People’s Party (EPP) will come second, with 13 seats, followed by the left-wing coalition formed by Podemos, United Left and EQUO (GUE/NGL + Greens/EFA) with 10 MEPs, Citizens (ALDE) with 9 seats, Vox (ECR) with 5, and nationalist parties with 3.
4. Who will be the next Spanish Commissioner?
With the departure of Miguel Arias Cañete, the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy since November 2014, there is a vacancy for the next Spanish Commissioner. Spain’s Foreign Minister and former President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, who is also the lead candidate for the PSOE in the European elections is hoping to take this position, El Pais reported, but the final decision will depend on the next Prime Minister. However, difficulties in forming a coalition government may increase the possibility that incumbent Prime Minister Sanchez will be able to select his own choice.