Far-right Vox is the dark horse of the Catalan elections

First time party is expected to enter the Catalan parliament

Jorge Buxadé, Ignacio Garriga, Santiago Abascal, and Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros of far-right Vox (by Laura Cortés)
Jorge Buxadé, Ignacio Garriga, Santiago Abascal, and Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros of far-right Vox (by Laura Cortés) / Natacha Maurin

Natacha Maurin | Barcelona

February 12, 2021 09:10 PM

Vox has risen through the polls, with Ignacio Garriga, the far-right party’s presidential candidate, expected to join the first wave of Vox delegates in the Catalan parliament. After the fall of right-leaning party Cs, Vox have found themselves growing in popularity, despite some very controversial opinions. 

Recently, the party organized a range of events in the main Catalan cities to mark the 42nd anniversary of Spain’s constitution, which were attended by neo-nazi groups where fascist symbols were seen.

A far-right party, Vox’s politics are ultranationalist, eurosceptic, economically liberal as well as extremely anti-immigration, with Garriga already landing himself in hot water this election for inciting hatred against Islamic communities. Their opposition to Catalan independence is particularly strong, and not only was their secretary-general, Javier Ortega Smith, the private prosecutor in the 2017 referendum organizer’s trial, but they have also made clear that they believe the punishments for the pro-independence jailed leaders were not harsh enough.

In fact, they link their anti-independence policies with their anti-immigration views, suggesting that the independence movement is the root of problems to do with immigration. Garriga has been heavily proposing this campaign that Catalonia has apparently become a hotbed for Islamic radicalism through this. 

In 2013, reactionary Vox was born from a schism in the traditional conservative People’s Party, with the aim of regaining right-wing votes from people disenchanted with the party at the time. The name Vox stands for the Latin ’Vox populi’ meaning the voice of the people.

 In turn, this rivalry between the two has continued through to the 2021 Catalan election, with Garriga telling PP voters that “Vox will defend you” following corruption allegations that came out on Thursday regarding ex-PP president Mariano Rajoy.

Their slogan “For Spain” has seemed to charm some Spaniards as they now find themselves to be the third-largest party in the state, with 52 deputies in the Spanish congress. Currently, they have no seats in the Catalan parliament, but this is all set to change in the coming election.  

Polls put Vox at anywhere between 6-10 seats, with the latest CIS survey estimating they will get 6.9% of the vote, in which case, this relatively young party might get ahead of their mother party the PP. Since there is no chance they will be part of the pro-independence block, and a unionist alliance seems impossible as Vox vetoed working with the Socialists. Their only shot at power would be an unlikely coalition with Cs and the PP to have enough of a majority to reach governance.

Garriga’s election slogan “Let’s get Catalonia back” encapsulates his hopes for this election; he proposes ending what he calls separatist media, and handing back social institutions such as the Catalan health, interior, and education sectors to the Spanish government, as well as denouncing ousted President Quim Tora. Although this once-fringe far-right party is gaining more support, that they ever reach the top of the executive chain remains unlikely.