Spain’s political landscape shifts rightwards amidst uncertainty


Pedro Sánchez remains steadfast in his optimism and belief in a triumphant return, but recent polls suggest a contrary outcome, with Alberto Núñez Feijóo vying for the presidency of the Spanish government. While the traditional duel between the socialists of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), led by Sánchez, and the conservatives of Feijóo’s Popular Party (PP) unfolds, the rise of the far-right Vox party has become the primary concern for voters.

As around 37 million citizens prepare to head to the polls, with approximately 2.6 million voting by mail, the political landscape is witnessing an unprecedented development—the surge of Vox, a far-right party, introduces a new element in the Iberian country’s politics.

The PP’s campaign, dubbed “Dismantling Sanchezism”, has long been focused on demonizing Sánchez, as well as the radical left represented by Podemos and any progressive components like Izquierda Unida, which have now aligned under Yolanda Díaz’s Sumar movement.

The PP consistently denies the achievements of the current Executive, from inflation reduction and economic growth to employment gains and the increase in the minimum wage, even going against the stances of international and domestic organizations. Although it is true that purchasing power has declined and energy prices remain high, Spain’s overall economic performance seems to surpass the European average.

Yet, for a segment of Spanish voters, the prevailing narrative falls short, and they seek a right-wing alternative that promises positive economic changes. The left-wing bloc, represented by the PSOE and the Unidas Podemos alliance, managed to defuse corruption scandals plaguing the PP in the past, but the weaknesses of the current government have provided opportunities for criticism.

The handling of the mask procurement issue by the brother of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the president of the Community of Madrid, and internal disputes between the capital’s leader and the PP’s national leader, Pablo Casado, have also contributed to this narrative. Núñez Feijóo’s rise in Galicia has further strengthened this shift towards the right, even when he formed pacts with Vox in several autonomous communities, such as Castilla y León and Valencia.

Vox, known for its denial of climate change, opposition to gender violence measures, denial of Spain’s dictatorial past, stance against abortion and equal marriage, and strict stance on illegal immigration, has found an ally in Santiago Abascal, the party’s leader, who is positioning himself as Feijóo’s potential future vice-president.

Despite these challenges, Pedro Sánchez refuses to back down, asserting that the PP is currently in a slump while the Socialist Party is staging a comeback. However, some observers believe that if no political force manages to secure a viable majority, even through potential alliances, Spain could find itself in a political deadlock that might necessitate new elections, mirroring the precedents set in 2015 and 2019. The path ahead for Spain’s political landscape remains uncertain, as the electorate awaits the outcome of the upcoming elections.


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