The real strategy of Vox | Spain


Vox is following the same path as other far-right formations in Europe when it comes to seizing effective power, says political scientist Cristina Monge. At first they are outside the system; then they are placed out of power. In a third stage, which is currently taking place in Spain, they begin to be necessary to approve budgets and laws and their ideology begins to distil and influence the daily life of a country.

That happens in the recent budget agreement of the Community of Madrid, signed on November 30 and that will take effect on the day of the vote, December 22, between Vox and the PP. The two parties know each other as winners. The PP because it has barely given money for the policies of its partner. And Vox, because it has managed to leave its ideological stamp on the Government of Díaz Ayuso, a benchmark for right-wing voters throughout Spain. The best showcase.

In negotiation, parliamentary arithmetic is imposing its law with the force of the inevitable. The PP has 65 regional deputies. Vox, 13. Either vote with the left, or allow Díaz Ayuso to carry out the first accounts of his Executive since 2019. The result is an agreement in which Vox influences less than 100 million euros of the 23,000 to which it amounts budget. In the 13-point pact, commitments of a symbolic and ideological nature predominate, with almost no economic weight. Vox plays to fill its great past electoral slogans with content, already thinking about the municipal and regional elections of 2023.

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One of these slogans is the freedom of parents to choose the education of their children: as Díaz Ayuso refuses to implement the parental veto in the region, his counterpart has taken from him the commitment to finance 62.5 million per year non-compulsory educational stages (nursery, FP and baccalaureate) for middle-class families (the limit to qualify for aid is an income per capita less than 35,000 euros).

Insecurity is another ideological axis of Vox: the far-right formation has managed to audit the expenses made in Madrid to care for unaccompanied foreign minors (a study valued at 50,000 euros). Also, that the Community undertakes to “study” its character as an accusation in cases related to the safety of Madrid residents (such as occupations of homes or attacks by organized gangs).

Another is the alleged abundance of redundant bodies in the Administration, which the party labels as “beach bars”: the pact includes a cost reduction of 10 million euros in advertising of the ministries, or rentals, and states the possible merger or deletion of organisms without detailing.

There are the flags of anti-abortion (1 million euros more to help pregnant adolescents) and that of the fight against the euthanasia law (5 million extra for the palliative care plan). And there is the flag of anti-feminism, which is crystallized in an ambivalent reading agreement in which both parties acquire the commitment to seek “equality in the promotion of employment”, insinuating discrimination against men in favor of women.

Cristina Monge assures that, in Spain, the influence of Vox goes beyond the specific agreements: “They do not get some items but they do manage to reduce others, such as some for women’s associations in Andalusia; also, as in the case of the audit of unaccompanied minors in Madrid, they spread suspicion. Which, ideologically, is good for them. They also tend to break consensus in institutional statements, as has happened in these two weeks in Congress with AIDS and domestic violence. Finally, they drag the PP to the right. This is somewhat more diffuse, but it is also real ”.

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The Minister of Finance, Juan Bravo, in one of his speeches at the Budget plenary session of the Andalusian Parliament.
The Minister of Finance, Juan Bravo, in one of his speeches at the Budget plenary session of the Andalusian Parliament. Julio Muñoz (EFE)

Only six days before Díaz Ayuso and Rocío Monasterio agreed on the budgets for Madrid, Vox laid down the accounts of the Board for 2022 in the Andalusian Parliament, leading to early elections in Andalusia in the coming months. The pact that made possible the investiture of Juan Manuel Moreno, in January 2019, was the first between the PP and Vox, a party until then extra-parliamentary that had surprisingly burst into the Andalusian chamber with 12 seats.

Vox’s support for this and the successive budgets of the coalition government between PP and Citizens (2019, 2020 and 2021), resulted in small concessions, such as the launch of a telephone line against domestic violence (in which the Abascal’s party tries to dilute sexist violence), which received 311 calls in its first six months of operation, less than two a day, compared to 88 a day from the women’s helpline. The Executive of Juanma Moreno did not repeal the Andalusian LGTBI, Gender Equality and Historical Memory laws, but he has allowed them to die of starvation, leaving them without funds.

The biggest scuffle was mounted around the so-called parental veto, which puts in the hands of parents the right to veto the attendance of their children to the complementary activities of the schools. The Ministry of Education, in the hands of Citizens, alleged that it was a non-existent problem, since there were no complaints from the families, and delayed its implementation, despite the fact that the point was included in Moreno’s investiture pact, in the that it was said that parents could exclude their children from those complementary or extracurricular activities “that were contrary to their convictions.” In the end, they only promised to increase transparency measures, so that the centers provide parents with more information about the content of these activities.

The other community where Vox was decisive was Murcia, according to the results of the 2019 regional elections. However, an internal crisis split the parliamentary group, reducing its influence. When the frustrated motion of censure of the PSOE and Ciudadanos was presented, the Murcian president, Fernando López Miras, of the PP, did not negotiate with Abascal, but with his dissidents. He made one of the wayward deputies, Mabel Campuzano, Minister of Education. Last July, his counseling issued an instruction that obliges schools to inform parents, seven days in advance, of the complementary activities taught by personnel outside the center. A sweetened version of the pin parental by Vox. But without Vox.

Political scientist Pablo Simón believes that Vox “is not interested in getting involved in management.” “It is enough for them to show that they are influential, but without wearing themselves out. And that is done by fighting their identity issues and their culture wars (anti-feminism, security …). This is how they settle for the next electoral cycle, in which they have much to gain: in all the polls there are between 1 million and 1.5 million voters who doubt between Casado and Vox ”.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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