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Santiago Abascal, Vox party leader. Flickr

Spanish conservatives could make gains in national election

Spanish conservative parties are expected to make significant gains in Sunday's election, the country's fourth national election in four years.

Published: November 10, 2019, 7:48 am

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    The economy or technology are no longer hot topics, as mainstream politicians are instead focusing on the conservative Vox, the Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Citizens).

    On Thursday, the Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Citizens) both indicated that they would support a proposal by Vox in the Madrid regional assembly to “immediately outlaw” any separatist parties “that attack the unity of the nation”.

    The popular proposal would likely mean more votes. Even the Socialist Party (PSOE), which has been heading a caretaker administration since the inconclusive election of April 28, has also taken a firmer position against Catalan separatists. The Catalan crisis has clearly resulted in a swing to the right.

    Polls show that Pedro Sánchez’s party, the PSOE, could lose even more seats in the election, because during a televised debate on Monday, neither Sánchez nor Pablo Iglesias of the anti-austerity Unidas Podemos could refute any of the statements made by Abascal.

    In a last-ditch effort to smear Vox, some 1 600 leftwing academics have signed a statement denouncing the “manipulation of figures” by Vox leader Santiago Abascal because he allegedly offered “false” cause-and-effect relationships “between irregular immigration and urban crime, the foreign population and gang rape, the cost of regional management to the state” in the national debate on Monday.

    They are accusing him of disturbing social harmony. “Covering up an ideological agenda of extreme nationalism based on intolerance, racism and xenophobia with supposedly objective data, not only discredits and distorts the work of thousands of social researchers, it hurts the foundations of social harmony,” the statement noted.

    Socialists have meanwhile been appealing to voters by saying they still have the best chance of forming a majority.

    Polls show that Vox could outperform the PP on Sunday in several provinces and even double its support, particularly with those voters along the Mediterranean.

    On Thursday, Pablo Casado and Abascal both held rallies in the eastern region of Valencia. Casado, the president of the PP, attracted around 1 200 people, while Abascal, whose party first entered the Spanish Congress in April of this year, drew over 6 000 supporters.

    Spain has one of the EU’s highest deficits and the second-highest unemployment rate after Greece. Despite that, immigration has remained the number one hot topic. Leftwing Spanish politicians have blamed the “French effect” of Marine Le Pen for this.

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