Leader of the Vox party in Spain, Santiago Abascal has no intention of giving up the land conquered in the recent Spanish elections.
In the wake of the recent elections, the Iberian leaders have been trying to hammer out a coalition agreement with the Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias.
But in trying to put a face to the new executive, the popular conservative Vox party has been shunned, and the center-right in Spain is anything but united. In other words, Santiago Abascal remains an isolated variable in the political landscape.
But Santi Abascal has the advantage that the issue of Catalonia remains a sensitive topic to test the ambitions of the next executive: without the favor of some secessionist fringes, which have succeeded again in occupying parliamentary benches, a coalition between Sanchez and Iglesias could fall before the end of the mandate.
Vox became the third largest political force in Spain during the last legislative, and has experienced a meteoric rise in just a few years.
As Abascal noted: “Eleven months ago we had no representative in the institutions, today we are the third largest force of the country with 52 deputies.” However, in an alliance with the People’s Party and centrist Ciudadanos, he may have a chance of robbing the Socialist Sanchez of power.
The Popular Party and Ciudadanos have no intention of including Vox as part of the coalition yet. Also because, in the current chaotic state of affairs, a center-right coalition does not even exist. No one has the courage to say it, but if the Socialists and Podemos do not succeed, then an almost mandatory scenario would be imposed: the three opposition parties would be forced to enter into dialogue to build a solid alternative.
These are all the hypotheses currently on the table, but for the moment there is nothing concrete, even though the Popular Party and Ciudadanos, allied with Vox previously to form regional governments.
Moreover, it seems that after months and months of negotiations, Sanchez and Iglesias know that voting again could mean defeat for both. Also, the future negotiations could be even more difficult because the in present looms some persistent problems, such as the separatist agitation in Catalonia.
That could be fertile ground for building programmatic and value distinctions for conservative parties. The interview that Santiago Abascal has released to Libero can be interpreted on the basis of this assumption: Vox, unlike the Spanish left, has never triangulated with the political forces that would make Catalonia a state in itself.
It has been an important element that Abascal is keen to reiterate. According to him: “The left wants to Islamize Catalonia”. He is quite right in stating that, but more importantly, Spanish voters know that.
The vision of Ada Colau, the controversial leftist mayor of Barcelona, on the management of migratory phenomena is one of open borders, while Abascal, in an exclusive interview with IlGiornale.it a few months ago, made it clear that he is one of the many “anti-migrationists” operating in the continental political forum.
In Catalonia, the mobilization continues: at the beginning of the past week, three days of independence have been called. In Madrid, the unionist parties, that is to say almost all those present today in Parliament, have also demonstrated together to oppose the separatist push and to reaffirm how national unity, after all, is the only shared and feasible road.
That was also confirmed by the election results: it is not true that the Catalans have a majority favorable to independence. But the unionist event was not enough because the association between Catalonia and flourishing Islamic fundamentalism, is not a novelty: Since 2015 the “Sharia police” have already been operating in the region with impunity.
Born in Bilbao in 1976 into a family committed to rightwing politics and threatened daily by the Basque terrorist organisation ETA, Santiago Abascal founded Vox in 2013, after having slammed the door on the Popular Party. He criticized the then Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, for lacking firmness against the Catalan separatists.
With the attempted secession of Catalonia in 2017 and the migration crisis of 2018, when Spain became the number one gateway to Europe for illegal immigration, Vox was launched on a platform of Spanish nationalism.
Abascal defends the country’s unity against the “enemies of Spain”: the separatists. The violence of the radical separatists in Barcelona and the blockages that disrupt everyday life in Catalonia have turned Vox into “the anti-elite party, order and common sense”.
The virile Abascal, owner of three motorcycles and a firearm he carries around day and night, has made the fight against what he calls “feminazis” another one of his priorities. Hostile to the policy of gender equality, he believes that men are being stigmatized by feminists. Notably Abascal was able to win 20 percent of votes in Madrid’s working class, leftist neighbourhoods.
An admirer of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Matteo Salvini, Santiago Abascal is very close to Marine Le Pen. His ties with the National Rally date back to 2016 and a meeting with Louis Aliot in Brussels.
In the 2017 presidential election, the Spaniard appeared alongside Marine Le Pen in Perpignan. Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls – who happens to be from Barcelona – has often been the target of the Vox leader’s attacks. When Valls defended a cordon sanitairee against the him, Abascal advised him “to return to his country… in Martinique.”