Vox (political party)

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Vox
PresidentSantiago Abascal
Secretary-GeneralIgnacio Garriga
Vice presidents
Spokesman in CongressPepa Millán
Founded17 December 2013
Split fromPeople's Party
HeadquartersC / Bambú 12 28036 Madrid
Membership (2021)Increase 63,468[1]
Ideology Spanish unionism
Political positionRight-Wing to Far-Right[A][17]
ReligionRoman Catholicism
European affiliationEuropean Conservatives and Reformists Party
European Parliament groupEuropean Conservatives and Reformists[18]
Colours  Green
Congress of Deputies
33 / 350
Senate
3 / 265
European Parliament
4 / 59
Regional parliaments
114 / 1,268
Regional Governments
5 / 19
Mayors in Spain
33 / 8,122
Town councillors
1,695 / 67,121
Party flag
Website
www.voxespana.es Edit this at Wikidata

^ A: Vox is often considered part of the radical right, a subset of the far-right that does not oppose democracy.[4][19][20][21]

Vox (Spanish pronunciation: [boɣs]; Latin for 'voice'; often stylized in all caps) is a national conservative[22] political party in Spain. Founded in 2013, it is currently led by party president Santiago Abascal, vice presidents Jorge Buxadé, Javier Ortega Smith, Reyes Romero, and secretary-general Ignacio Garriga.[23] Vox had been identified as right-wing by centre leaning and right leaning journalists and academics, and as far-right by left leaning academics and journalists.[16]

The party entered the Spanish parliament for the first time after winning seats in the April 2019 general election. Later that year, it received 3.6 million votes in the November 2019 general election, winning 52 seats and becoming the third-largest party in the Congress of Deputies. Its public support reached its peak within the next few years, according to the results of subsequent regional elections and opinion polling, but in the 2023 Spanish general election showed worse results: a loss of 19 seats in parliament (albeit whilst remaining the third-largest political party in Spain with roughly 3 million votes). In the European Parliament, Vox is part of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party with Brothers of Italy and Law and Justice; it declined to join the Identity and Democracy group (which includes far-right parties such as the National Rally, League, and Alternative for Germany).

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Javier Ortega Smith giving a speech in 2018

Vox was founded on 17 December 2013, and publicly launched at a press conference in Madrid on 16 January 2014, as a split from the People's Party (PP).[24][25][26] This schism was interpreted as an offshoot of "neoconservative"[27] or "social conservative"[28] PP party members.[a] The party platform called for the rewriting of the Spanish constitution so as to curb regional autonomy and abolish regional parliaments.[26] Several founding members of the party (for example, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, José Antonio Ortega Lara, and Santiago Abascal) had been members of the platform "reconversion.es",[b] which had issued a manifesto in 2012 calling for a recentralization of the State.[30] Vidal-Quadras was proclaimed as the first chairman in March 2014.[31][c]

Their initial funding, totalling nearly 972,000 euros, came in the form of individual donations from supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and of People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), thanks to their "personal relationship" with Vidal-Quadras, who had supported the NCRI during his stint in the EU Parliament. There is no evidence that Vox has broken Spanish or EU funding rules accepting these donations.[30][33]

The 2014 European elections marked the first time the newly formed Vox fielded a candidate, with Vidal-Quadras running under its banner, though he narrowly failed to retain his seat in the European Parliament.[34]

In September 2014, the party elected Santiago Abascal, one of the founders, as its President, and Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, also a founder, as General Secretary. Eleven members of the National Executive Committee were also elected.

The party participated in the 2015 and the 2016 elections, scoring 0.23% and 0.20% of votes respectively.[citation needed]

Amidst the Spanish constitutional crisis precipitated by the Catalan referendum, Vox opted to not participate in the Catalan regional elections of 2017.[35] After the Catalan declaration of independence, the party sued the Parliament of Catalonia and several independentist politicians.[36] Its membership grew by 20% in the span of forty days immediately following this action.[37]

Entrance into institutions and opposition to COVID-19 measures[edit]

On 10 September 2018, Vox enlisted Juan Antonio Morales, an independent legislator in the regional parliament of Extremadura (who had dropped out of the PP parliamentary group) as party member.[38] On 2 December 2018, they won 12 parliamentary seats in the Andalusian regional election,[39] [40] entering a regional parliament for the first time. It supported the coalition regional government by Ciudadanos and the Popular Party. With this result, Vox was also given a first seat in the Senate, which was taken by Francisco José Alcaraz.[41]

The party obtained 10.26% of votes in the April 2019 general election, electing 24 Deputies and entering the Congress of Deputies for the first time.[42] Later, the party entered the European Parliament for the first time with 6.2% of the votes and three Eurodeputies, which after Brexit became four. After this election, the party joined the European Conservatives and Reformists group and the European Conservatives and Reformists Party.[18] Vox has declined the invitation to join the Identity and Democracy group (which includes such far-right parties as National Rally, League, and Alternative for Germany).[43] In the second general election of the year in November, Vox came third and increased its number of deputies from 24 to 52.[44] It was the most-voted party in the Region of Murcia and the autonomous city of Ceuta.[45]

At the beginning of 2020, during the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Vox called for travel restrictions between China and Spain, and later between Italy and Spain, to safeguard against the "Chinese virus".[46] At that time the epidemic was already in full swing in those countries, but it was prior to any COVID cases being officially confirmed within Spain in significant numbers. That position found no support among other parties, and it was criticized as xenophobic rhetoric.[47][48] The party claims that serious counter-COVID measures were deliberately delayed in Spain by the government, which hid the information and downplayed known risks to allow for mass public events on International Women's Day (8 March) to take place, as these events were important for the left wing agenda of the newly formed coalition government of PSOE and UP.[49] At the same time, Vox went forward with their own global party conference on 8 March in Vistalegre, where party supporters from all parts of Spain were invited. The conference resulted in numerous cases of COVID infection, including confirmed cases of COVID transmission between members of Vox leadership.[50][51] This fact was often brought up by Vox opponents to criticize Vox attitude towards COVID situation in Spain.[52]

During the anti-COVID lockdown and follow-up restrictions, Vox routinely criticized government measures as inefficient, partisan, and partially unconstitutional.[53] In April 2020 the party appealed to the Constitutional Court of Spain against the first State of Alarm (15 March – 21 June) declared by the government.[54] In October 2020, Vox's parliamentary group at the Congress of Deputies tabled a motion of no confidence against the current Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, bringing Santiago Abascal as alternative candidate.[55] The motion failed to gain any support among the other parliamentary groups, gathering 52 'yes' votes (those of Vox legislators) and 298 'no' votes (the rest of the chamber).[56] In November 2020 Vox appealed to the Constitutional Court of Spain against the second State of Alarm (October 25, 2020 – May 9, 2021) declared by the government.[57]

In the face of the 2020 United States presidential election, Vox was fully supportive of President Donald Trump's candidacy,[58] even tweeting from its official account that Joe Biden was the preferred candidate of "El País, Podemos, Otegi, Maduro, China, Iran and pedophiles", which according to the international news agency EFE was echoing QAnon conspiracy theories.[59] Vox took part in the 2021 CPAC conference and refused to acknowledge Biden's victory.[60]

Santiago Abascal during a rally in 2021

At the beginning of 2021, Vox's abstention was instrumental in securing European COVID-recovery funds on Socialist terms.[61] Many Vox supporters considered this as the "largest error in Vox's history".[62]

During 2020 and 2021 electoral campaigns for regional elections in the Basque Country,[63] Catalonia,[64] and the Community of Madrid[65] multiple legal electoral events of Vox were physically attacked by radical political opponents on the premises of "Vox's legitimate electoral events in some regions being provocative acts". The view of the events as provocations was endorsed by high ranking UP members, including their speaker Pablo Echenique, and their leader, the Second Deputy Prime Minister of Spain at the time, Pablo Iglesias.[66]

On 14 July 2021, in response to the Vox's appeal the previous year, the Constitutional Court of Spain declared by a narrow majority (six votes in support vs. five votes against) that the first anti-COVID State of Alarm was unconstitutional in the part of suppressing the freedom of movement established by the Article 19 of the Constitution.[67] In October 2021 the Constitutional Court of Spain supported two other appeals by Vox, and declared unconstitutional the closing down of Spanish Parliament and Senate in the beginning of pandemic, and the second State of Alarm.[68][69] As reported on 22 October 2021, the Government of Spain ordered all fines collected in relation to the first State of Alarm to be returned to citizens.[70]

Entering autonomous governments[edit]

On 13 February 2022, Vox came third in the 2022 Castilian-Leonese regional election, raising its representation from 1 up to 13 seats, and becoming the key player for the rival People's Party (PP), who won the elections, to form a government.[71][72] Following this election result, and an unfolding leadership crisis in PP,[73] Vox for the first time was recognized as the Spain's second political force, according to some opinion polls for the next general elections.[74] In March 2022, it was announced that Vox would form government with the PP in Castile and León, taking three of ten ministerial positions including vice president for regional leader Juan García-Gallardo.[75] Vox member Carlos Pollán was elected President of the Cortes of Castile and León, the position of speaker.[76] This represents the first participation of Vox in any regional government.

On 19 June 2022, Vox came third in the 2022 Andalusian regional elections. With Macarena Olona as the leading candidate, the party improved over the previous regional elections, gaining about 100k more votes, and two more seats in the Parliament of Andalusia, but failed short of the expectations to achieve significantly better results and become the key to the new regional government.[77] In the aftermath of elections, despite initial promises to stay and lead Vox's opposition group in Andalusia, on 29 July 2022, Olona announced her decision to resign and left politics due to unnamed "medical reasons".[78][79]

In March 2023, Vox, for the second time, tabled a motion of no confidence against the government of Pedro Sánchez, with Ramón Tamames as alternative, independent candidate. The motion failed with 53 votes in favour, 201 votes against, 91 abstentions, and four absentees.[80]

In May 2023, local and regional elections were held in Spain. Vox, as the minor partner, formed the government with the PP in the Valencian Community, though the PP ordered that Vox's lead candidate Carlos Flores would not take part in the government, due to his 2002 conviction for harassment of his ex-wife.[81] After protracted negotiations, Vox also joined PP governments in Extremadura and Aragon.[82] Despite not forming the government, Vox was awarded the speaker's role in the Parliament of the Balearic Islands in exchange for abstaining on the vote and thereby allowing a PP government.[83] Again as the smaller of the two parties, Vox formed local governments with the PP in cities such as Elche, Toledo, Valladolid, Guadalajara and Burgos.[84]

A general election took place in July 2023, for which the PP was widely forecast to win and obtain a majority with support from Vox.[85][86][87] In what BBC News called a surprise result, Vox fell from 52 seats to 33, losing half a million votes; the PP took the most seats but fell short of a majority even with Vox's support. Vox's reduced presence in the Congress meant that it lost its ability to appeal the government's legislature to the Supreme Court; it had previously used this right to challenge Sánchez's legislation on transgender issues, euthanasia and the COVID-19 pandemic. After the election, some political journalists noted Spain had followed an opposite trend to other European countries such as Sweden, Finland and Italy where conservative-nationalist parties had scored strong results and opined Vox's communication style had turned off voters and that the disappearance of the Ciudadanos party (whose votes mostly went to the PP) had indirectly penalized Vox as the electoral system is weighted to favour bigger parties. Abascal partly blamed the People's Party whom he argued had been too triumphalist in campaigning on behalf of the right, claiming "They sold the bear's skin before they had even hunted it. That is clearly the reason why there was a lack of mobilisation [of voters]."[88][89][90]

In the aftermath of the general elections, many members of the "liberal family of Vox" left the party or lost their influence in favour of the syndicalist wing, headed by Jorge Buixade.[91]

Vox held a major rally in Madrid in May 2024 in anticipation of the European elections. Receiving support from international politicians including Argentinian President Javier Milei and France's presidency candidate Marine Le Pen, as well as other politicians from Italy, Hungary, France, and Portugal.[92][93]

Ideology[edit]

The party identifies itself as a more right-wing alternative to the centre-right People's Party from which it split in 2013. In November 2018, during a party event in Murcia, the party's leader, Santiago Abascal, defined his party as "antifascist, anti-Nazi and anticommunist".[94] Vox has also been described as simply right-wing,[95] populist radical-right party (in contrast to an extreme right), and far-right.[96][97][98][99]

According to certain analysis, the positions that are central to Vox's ideology are: (i) a strong anti-immigration stance and advocacy for stricter law and order policies; (ii) a strong defence of the unity of Spain against all who allegedly want to break or undermine it; (iii) an opposition to what it labels the "progressive dictatorship"; (iv) and strong defence of the Catholic religion and so-called traditional values.[100]

According to Xavier Casals, the unifying part of Vox's ideology up to this point[until when?] is a war-like ultranationalism[101] identified by the party with a palingenetic and biological vision of the country—the so-called España Viva—as well as a Catholicism-inspired culture.[3] He says that ideological roots of the party's ultranationalism lie in incondicionalismo, 'unconditionalism', the nationalist discourse based on the "fear of amputation of the homeland" coined in the 19th century in Colonial Cuba against Cuban separatism, and autonomist concessions (replicated in Catalonia in the 1910s).[102] Casals writes that Vox's specific brand of Spanish nationalism is linked to unconditional support of the State Security Forces and Corps,[103] and the party's discourse has also revived the myth of the Antiespaña ("Anti-Spain"), an umbrella term created in the 1930s by the domestic ultranationalist forces to designate the (inner) "Enemies of Spain",[5][104] creating a simplistic España viva/Antiespaña duality that comes handy for communicating via social media.[103] Casals notes, regarding the external projection of its discourse, that the party has reanimated the concept of "Hispanidad"; party leader Abascal has stated that an immigrant coming from a "brotherly Hispanic-American country" is not comparable to the immigration coming from "Islamic countries".[105]

According to Guillermo Fernández Vázquez, Vox's positions, which he described as "economically anti-statist and neoliberal" as well as "morally authoritarian", is similar to positions held by Jörg Haider's Freedom Party of Austria or Jean Marie Le Pen's National Front from the 1980s, thus likening the emergence of the party to an archaic stage of current radical right parties, more worried about the need to modernize their image than Vox; the latter's approach to cultural issues would be in line with old school Spanish nationalist parties, restricting the scope of "culture" to "language and tradition".[106][107]

The party has appealed to conspiracy theories invoking the figure of George Soros as a mastermind behind Catalan separatism and the alleged "Islamization" of Europe.[108] Vox used to include some former neo-Nazis in party cadres and lists;[109][110] Vox has since expelled some of them from the party, while others have resigned.[111][112]

During his participation in the April 2019 general election debate, Santiago Abascal used a phrase used by Ramiro Ledesma, founder of the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (JONS) fascist party: "only the rich can afford the luxury of not having a homeland".[113]

In 2023, Barcelona-based journalist Stephen Burgen and Spanish political scientist Pablo Simón argued that Vox had grown to contain two factions which adhere to different influences; they cited a more hardline wing close to leader Santiago Abascal whom they claim take inspiration from nationalist European parties and figures such as Viktor Orbán in Hungary and the right-wing nationalist faction of Law and Justice in Poland, and a second wing containing former party spokesman Iván Espinosa de los Monteros who identify more with the British Conservative Party and whose role models are Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.[114] Espinosa left the politics, and his positions in the parliament in August 2023, although officially he remained a member of the party, and downplayed his discrepancies with Vox main line.[115]

Internal politics[edit]

Vox supports the constitutional monarchy,[116] advocates for the recentralization[10][117][118] of Spain by abolishing Spain's autonomous communities,[117][119] and strongly opposes separatist movements in the country, in particular the Catalan independence movement and Basque nationalism. Fighting the latter is also a personal question for multiple founding members, including the current president Santiago Abascal, whose family was threatened by the terrorist group ETA during his youth in the Basque country;[120] José Antonio Ortega Lara, who was kidnapped by ETA and kept hostage for 532 days; and María Teresa López Álvarez, whose father survived an assassination attempt by ETA.[121][122] Vox promotes the illegalization of separatist parties in Spain,[123] e.g. EH Bildu, ERC, etc., and opposed the pardoning of Catalan independence activists convicted for organizing an independence referendum. The party's centralist discourse incorporates economic arguments, claiming that current structure of autonomous and local governments in Spain are responsible for significant superfluous budget spending.

Vox publicly criticised and opposed the exhumation of Francisco Franco.[124]

Social issues[edit]

Vox is considered anti-feminist by some,[who?][125] and wants to repeal the gender violence law,[126] which they see as "discriminatory against one of the sexes", and replace it with a "family violence law that will afford the same protection to the elderly, men, women and children who suffer from abuse".[127] Left-leaning critics believe Vox undermines the importance of feminist struggle in the advancement of women's liberties by means of linking the latter to a culture with "Christian foundations".[128]

Vox is opposed to abortion rights.[129][130] The party advocates for life sentences for sex offenders and abusers.[131][132]

Vox opposes the legalization of euthanasia.[130] The party supports bullfighting, which it considers an important element of Spanish culture that should be defended.[133]

Islam[edit]

While Vox's official platform only contains proposals against Islamic fundamentalism, public statements made by party figures constitute Islamophobia, helping to underpin, according to Casals, their discourse against Maghrebi immigration, and in favour of the development of a closer bond to Catholicism.[128] The party advocates for the closure of fundamentalist mosques as well as the arrest and expulsion of extremist imams.[127] Vox has openly called for the deportation of tens of thousands of Muslims from Spain.[134] In 2019, the party's leader demanded a Reconquista, 'reconquest' of Spain,[135] explicitly referencing a new round of expulsions of Muslim immigrants from the country.[136]

LGBT rights[edit]

Vox opposes same-sex marriage[137] while supporting same-sex civil unions.[138] The party has been accused of homophobia[139][140][141] which the party denies.[137][142][143] Party leader Santiago Abascal has denied allegations of homophobia, stating in an interview that Vox is in no way a homophobic party and that it merely opposes "LGBT ideology", going on to say that party membership includes many homosexuals, and that he personally has friends who are gay.[142][140] José María Marco, Spanish essayist, liberal-conservative opinion journalist, and an open gay conservative, contested the April 2019 Senate election in Madrid as the candidate from Vox, and also ran second in the party list for the 2019 Madrilenian regional election.[137][144]

In some discourses, party leaders have suggested that their opposition to mass immigration from Islamic countries effectively protects the LGBT community, as homosexuality is largely prosecuted in Islamic cultures, and that most immigrants do not alter their attitude upon arrival to Spain.[145][140]

Vox opposes the Ley Trans, developed by Irene Montero and the Ministry of Equality, and approved by Spanish government in June 2021.[140][146] According to Vox, the law as proposed "attacks the rights of women, children, biology, and common sense".[147]

Vox congratulated the Hungarian parliament for passing legislation[148] that would ban media and educational content which may be seen by underage persons from depicting LGBT individuals or addressing LGBT issues.[149]

Ahead of the 2019 elections, Vox published a tweet calling for a "battle" against several symbols, including a ghost with the LGBT flag. This ghost was re-appropriated by the LGBT community which gave it the name Gaysper and used it as a symbol against homophobia.

During the April 2019 general election, Vox shared a controversial tweet in which it invited its supporters to vote through the claim "Let the battle begin!". The message was accompanied by a photomontage of Aragorn, a protagonist of the Lord of the Rings saga, in which he appeared facing a crowd of orcs, whose figure had been modified and replaced with symbols contrary to the party's ideology: the feminist symbol, the hammer and sickle, the flag of the Second Spanish Republic and the Catalan independence senyera, several logos of media outlets such as El País or Cadena SER, the symbol of the raised fist, the symbol of the anti-fascist movement and, among them, a modified version of the ghost emoji (👻) of the Android 5.0 version with the colors of the LGBT flag.[150]

The use of the ghost in the tweet met with an initial negative reaction from the LGBT community on Twitter. However, it would later end up using it for the creation of memes, and finally as a symbol of the collective in a phenomenon of reappropriation. The icon would end up being known as Gaysper, in a portmanteau of the word gay and Casper the Friendly Ghost; and subsequently spread in press and television.[151][152] Two PSOE deputies would later attend a parliamentary session in Congress wearing a T-shirt bearing the icon.[153][154]

Multiple Vox politicians have made allegedly disparaging statements about homosexuals.[143][140] Thus, Fernando Paz Cristóbal [ca] (ex-leader of Vox in Albacete, who left the party in 2019) told in 2013: "If I had a gay son I would help him, there are therapies to correct such psychology".[143][155] Francisco Serrano Castro (ex-leader of Vox in Andalusia, who left the party in 2020) tweeted in 2017: "Homosexuals have penises and lesbians have vulvas, and don't be fooled, nobody cares about it".[143] Juan E. Pflüger (director of communications of Vox in 2019) tweeted in 2013: "Why do gays celebrate Saint Valentine's day, if their thing is not love, it's just vice".[143]

Arms[edit]

Vox has proposed that citizens should be allowed to keep arms at home, and supports the castle doctrine,[142][156] but does not support the right to carry arms or the free sale of firearms.[156] Current party leaders, Santiago Abascal and Javier Ortega, are both licensed to carry handguns for self-defence due to recurrent threats to their lives for their political activities.[157][158] Under strict Spanish gun laws, such licenses are rarely granted to civilians, only when authorities consider proven a real high risk of an individual being attacked (about 0.02% of the Spanish population holds such licenses).[159]

Economy[edit]

Vox's economic position is often described as economically liberal[160][161][162] or neo-liberal.[163] The party defends liberalization of Spanish labor laws, lower taxation, and support for self-employed workers.[127] At the same time, Vox's discourse includes protectionist ideas for national companies, and criticism of globalization, and large multinational corporations, which can be viewed as anti-liberal.[164][165]

The party's economic rhetoric includes elements aimed to attract the working class electorate, traditionally supportive of left-oriented parties, like PSOE. In 2020, Vox declared the launch of its own workers union named Solidaridad[166] (Solidarity, the name reminiscent of numerous historic organizations in Spain, e.g. Solidaridad Española; and other countries, e.g. Polish Solidarity, UK Solidarity, etc.). According to some declarations, the union is just endorsed, but independent from Vox party.[citation needed]

Vox's discourse includes calls to cut inefficient and superfluous government spending.[127] In particular, the costs associated with the administration of autonomous communities and local governments (which also should be downscaled according to the views of the party on internal politics), and "ideological chiringuitos", the party's label for various organizations, recipients of public funds, considered by Vox as just promoters of government agenda.[citation needed]

In their program for 2023 Spanish General Elections, Vox proposed an overhaul of Spanish fiscal system, with radical reduction of income tax down to two levels of 15% and 25%, reduction of added-value taxes, and abolishing or reduction of other state taxes.[167]

Immigration[edit]

According to the party's platform, and numerous interviews of its leaders, Vox positions itself strongly against illegal immigration, which is a significant contributor to crime in Spain (in 2021, according to INE data,[168] 25% of convicts in Spain were foreign nationals, 17% of convicts were non-European nationals; there is no official statistics on immigration status of foreign convicts). Vox calls for unconditional deportation of illegal immigrants; tightening of Spanish immigration laws; legal and police actions against non-profits (e.g. Proactiva Open Arms) and organized crime facilitating illegal immigration; and the militarization of problematic frontiers. The party emphasizes its support for legal immigration complied with the Spanish law. At the same time, they promote stricter regulation of immigration according to the needs of national economy; with preference for immigration from Hispanic cultures, on the premises of easier integration of such immigrants into Spanish society, compared to immigrants from Islamic countries.[169][170][171]

In 2020, Vox deputy Rocío de Meer described neighborhoods such as Molenbeek in Brussels or Barbès in París as "multicultural dung heaps".[172] Other party deputies have used the same term, such as party leader Santiago Abascal during a failed motion of censure of deputy Ignacio Garriga.[173]

In the elections to the Assembly of Madrid of 2021 held on May 4, Vox used a very controversial poster in which appeared the faces of a young masked man with pixelated eyes and an old woman with the sign between the two: "A mena [unaccompanied minor] 4700 euros per month. Your grandmother 426 euros pension / month". These numbers were debunked by the Department of Social Policies, Families, Equality and Birth of the Community of Madrid.[174] The poster was denounced in court for inciting hatred towards this group, but the court and the appeal ruling did not consider it a crime.[175][176]

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vox supported the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees in Europe. According to Abascal "these are real war refugees, women, children, and elderly people", unlike "young Muslim males of military age invading Europe frontiers with intentions to destabilize and colonize it".[177]

Opponents of Vox describe and criticize the party's position as xenophobic, anti-immigrant and Islamophobic. With especially strong criticism of Vox's harsh position against vulnerable immigrant groups, such as unaccompanied minors, refugees or victims of crime in their country of origin.[178][179]

The party is critical of multiculturalism[180][181][171] and demographic transition,[182][183][184] supporting natalist politics and opposing replacement migration.[183][184]

There are persons of non-European descent among Vox members and supporters. Notable figures of African descent associated with the party include Ignacio Garriga and Bertrand Ndongo.[185]

Environment[edit]

The party's discourse about the environment has evolved over time, going from climate change denial to a conservationist approach.[186] However, the party still opposes the mainstream environmental views, labelling them as "Green religion", and as recent as April 2021 voted against the Law for Climate Change and Energy Transition, which was adopted anyway.[187]

Education[edit]

Vox promotes the "pin parental" policy: changes in laws aimed to guarantee the rights of parents to control public education of their children and veto their children from obligatory attendance to classes contradicting values of parents.[188] Party representatives claim that Spanish national and regional authorities abuse the control of the public education system to impose their political and ideological agenda on children.[188]

Foreign policy and international relations[edit]

Europe[edit]

Abascal and Chega leader André Ventura in Lisbon, 2021

Since its formation, Vox was close to Matteo Salvini's Lega Nord party in Italy. However in 2021, party officials from both parties said there were no longer any links between the two parties anymore, with Vox since then getting closer to Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party instead.[189] A member of the European Conservatives and Reformists, Vox shares group with parties such as Polish Law and Justice, Brothers of Italy, Dutch JA21 or the Sweden Democrats.[190] In October 2021, Abascal said that Vox has an "unbreakable" alliance with Portuguese party Chega, which belongs to the Identity and Democracy Party.[191]

Vox holds a soft Eurosceptic view of the European Union,[14][192] arguing that Spain should make no sovereignty concessions to the EU, because according to the Constitution of Spain national sovereignty is vested in the Spanish people, from whom emanate the powers of the State. The party's leadership is strongly opposed to the EU becoming a federal superstate and instead argues for a Europe of "strong and sovereign states" that "defends its borders and its Christian roots and opposes multiculturalism and mass immigration."[193][194][195] Political science professor Andrés Santana and Lisa Zanotti noted that out of all the parties in Spain, Vox's voters and grassroots activists were the most likely to oppose Spain's membership of the EU.[196]

In July 2021, party leader Abascal signed a statement about Europe's future that opposed the EU's "federalist drift" with Viktor Orbán (Prime Minister of Hungary and president of Fidesz), Marine Le Pen (President of the National Rally), Jarosław Kaczyński (leader of PiS and ex-Prime Minister of Poland), Giorgia Meloni, among others.[197]

Following the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine Vox took a strong pro-Ukrainian stance, announcing its support to "all measures" to defend Ukraine, including shipments of armaments to Ukraine.[198]

Vox calls for Spain to regain sovereignty over Gibraltar,[199] and extra efforts for safeguarding Spanish control of Ceuta and Melilla.[170]

Americas[edit]

Vox was supportive of Donald Trump and his political ideals during his presidency[58][60] and met with his government in February 2019 to present the Madrid Charter; the document divided political groups in the Americas into the two sides of Western democracies and "criminal" left-wing groups that were "under the umbrella of the Cuban regime".[200][201][202] The Madrid Charter called for scholars and the media to adopt and disseminate the ideas of the document.[203] In September 2021, 15 senators and three deputies from the National Action Party of Mexico met Abascal to sign the charter.[204] The charter was primarily signed by Venezuelan opposition members, Cuban dissidents and Fujimorists from Peru,[201][205][206] with El País writing that Vox gathered groups of Evangelicals, Catholics, neoconservatives, right-wing populists and individuals "nostalgic for military dictatorships" to sign the document.[200]

Vox also maintains close ties with the Chilean Republican Party and La Libertad Avanza in Argentina.[207]

Middle East[edit]

Vox supports the State of Israel within the context of Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[208] A document titled "VOX, Israel and the Middle East" on their website commends Israel's democratic system and its fight against Islamic extremism. The document criticizes the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and advocates for strengthening ties between Spain and Israel in all areas.[209]

In May 2024, Abascal, the leader of the party, voiced criticism towards Prime Minister Sanchez for unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state. Abascal described this action as a scandalous reward to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group responsible for the October 7 attacks against Israel.[210]

Voter profile[edit]

A 2020 study based on a statistical analysis of April 2019 general election results found that Vox's support is stronger among the middle-aged, urban population with higher secondary education and at the higher end of income distribution. Authors say that such a voter profile is in direct contrast with that of a typical supporter of radical right parties in other European states, expected to be a man from a rural area with low education and a low income. Vox's support is stronger among voters dissatisfied with the current political situation in Spain, and voters who identify themselves as Spaniards.[211]

A 2021 study of the influence of Spanish party leaders on Twitter during the April 2019 general election campaign[212] found that the messages tweeted during the electoral campaign by Santiago Abascal (Vox) reached the highest diffusion and viralization capacity compared to Twitter messages by leaders of Cs, PSOE, PP and UP. The main focus of Abascal's tweets, according to the authors, was the Spanish territorial model (27.2%), government and parties (19.3%) and economy (14.5%).

Electoral performance[edit]

Cortes Generales[edit]

Cortes Generales
Election Leading candidate Congress Senate Government
Votes % Seats +/– Seats +/–
2015 Santiago Abascal 58,114 0.23 (#15)
0 / 350
0
0 / 208
0 Extra-parliamentary
2016 47,182 0.20 (#13)
0 / 350
0
0 / 208
0 Extra-parliamentary
Apr. 2019 2,688,092 10.26 (#5)
24 / 350
24
0 / 208
0 Snap election
Nov. 2019 3,656,979 15.08 (#3)
52 / 350
28
2 / 208
2 Opposition
2023 3,057,000 12.38 (#3)
33 / 350
19
0 / 208
2 Opposition

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election Leading candidate Votes % Seats +/–
2014 Alejo Vidal-Quadras 246,833 1.57 (#11)
0 / 54
0
2019 Jorge Buxadé 1,393,684 6.21 (#5)
4 / 59
4

Regional parliaments[edit]

Region Election Votes % Seats +/– Government
Andalusia 2022 496,618 13.5 (#3)
14 / 109
2 Opposition
Aragon 2023 75,349 11.3 (#3)
7 / 67
4 Coalition
Asturias 2023 54,273 10.1 (#3)
4 / 45
2 Opposition
Balearic Islands 2023 62,637 13.9 (#3)
8 / 59
5 Opposition
Basque Country 2024 21,396 2.0 (#6)
1 / 75
1 Opposition
Canary Islands 2023 71,740 7.9 (#5)
4 / 70
Increase4 Opposition
Cantabria 2023 35,982 11.1 (#4)
4 / 35
2 Opposition
Castile and León 2022 212,605 17.6 (#3)
13 / 81
12 Coalition
Castilla–La Mancha 2023 139,607 12.8 (#3)
4 / 33
4 Opposition
Catalonia 2024 248,554 8.0 (#5)
11 / 135
11 Opposition
Ceuta 2023 7,050 20.6 (#3)
5 / 25
1 Opposition
Extremadura 2023 49,798 8.1 (#3)
5 / 65
5 Coalition
Galicia 2024 32,301 2.2 (#5)
0 / 75
0 No seats
La Rioja 2023 12,773 7.6 (#3)
2 / 33
2 Opposition
Madrid 2023 248,379 7.3 (#4)
10 / 135
3 Opposition
Melilla 2023 2,937 9.9 (#4)
2 / 25
0 Opposition
Murcia 2023 121,321 17.7 (#3)
9 / 45
5 Coalition
Navarre 2023 14,197 4.3 (#7)
2 / 50
2 Opposition
Valencian Community 2023 310,184 12.4 (#4)
13 / 99
13 Coalition

Results timeline[edit]

Year Spain
ES
European Union
EU
Andalusia
AN
Aragon
AR
Asturias
AS
Canary Islands
CN
Cantabria
CB
Castilla–La Mancha
CM
Castile and León
CL
Catalonia
CT
Ceuta
CE
Extremadura
EX
Galicia (Spain)
GL
Balearic Islands
IB

RI
Community of Madrid
MD
Melilla
ML
Region of Murcia
MC
Navarre
NC
Basque Country (autonomous community)
PV
Valencian Community
CV
2014 N/A 1.6 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2015 0.2 0.5 0.6 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.7 1.2 0.3 1.2 0.8 0.4
2016 0.2 0.1
2017
2018 11.0
2019 10.3 6.2 6.1 6.4 2.5 5.1 7.0 5.5 22.4 4.7 8.1 3.9 8.9 7.8 9.5 1.3 10.6
15.1
   
2020 2.0 1.9
2021 7.7 9.1
2022 13.5 17.6
2023 12.4 11.3 10.1 7.9 11.1 12.8    20.6 8.1 13.9 7.6 7.3 9.9 17.7 4.3 12.4
2024 TBD    8.0    2.2    2.0   
Year Spain
ES
European Union
EU
Andalusia
AN
Aragon
AR
Asturias
AS
Canary Islands
CN
Cantabria
CB
Castilla–La Mancha
CM
Castile and León
CL
Catalonia
CT
Ceuta
CE
Extremadura
EX
Galicia (Spain)
GL
Balearic Islands
IB

RI
Community of Madrid
MD
Melilla
ML
Region of Murcia
MC
Navarre
NC
Basque Country (autonomous community)
PV
Valencian Community
CV

Bold indicates best result to date.
  To be decided
  Present in legislature (in opposition)
  Junior coalition partner
  Senior coalition partner

Party membership[edit]

According to the party's annual reports.

Year Joined Left Num. of members at 31 December
2016 3,496 [213]
2017 2,045 569 Increase 4,792 [213]
2018 20,153 1,102 Increase 23,843 [214]
2019 29,927 1,363 Increase 52,407 [214]
2020 17,253 7,286 Increase 62,374 [215]
2021 11,118 10,024 Increase 63,468 [1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pablo Carmona suggests Vox can be indeed adequately interpreted as a sort of evolution of the People's Party from the last years of the leadership of José María Aznar.[29]
  2. ^ Spanish: reconversión, lit.'reconversion; restructuring'
  3. ^ Vidal Quadras later left the party after the political failure at the European election and his inability to impose his stances in the party. He would argue in 2018 that the party shifted from a "liberal conservative, Europeanist, and reformist" proposal (represented by himself), to a "Nationalist, revisionist, eurosceptic and confessional" one.[32]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Fredrik Engelstad; Trygve Gulbrandsen (7 October 2019). Elites and People: Challenges to Democracy. Comparative Social Research. p. 199. ISBN 978-1838679156.
  3. ^ a b Casals, Xavier (19 January 2019). "Vox habla sobre Vox. Tres libros para conocer el partido". Agenda Pública. Su ideario parece hallarse aún en construcción y tiene como eje vertebrador un ultranacionalismo bélico asociado a la "Reconquista" o a una "Covadonga 2.0", El partido lo identifica con una visión biológica y palingenética de la patria, la "España viva", pero también con una cultura de inspiración católica.
  4. ^ a b Acha, Beatriz (6 January 2019). "No, no es un partido (neo)fascista". Agenda Pública.
  5. ^ a b Antón-Mellón, Joan (29 April 2019). "Vox. Del nacional-catolicismo al ultranacionalismo neoliberal". Agenda Pública. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  6. ^ [2][3][4][5]
  7. ^ Jones & Hedberg 2023, p. 163: "Vox (national-conservative)"
  8. ^ Rama, José; J. Turnbull-Dugarte, Stuart; Santana, Andrés (30 July 2020). "Who are Vox, and who are their voters?". The London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
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  10. ^ a b Lebourg & Camus 2020, p. 275: "A la cuestión táctica se agrega un problema de concepción de la nación que muestra lo difícil que resulta unir al total de los nacionalistas, porque, así como Marine Le Pen intentó seducir a los diputados de VOX, estos, que son partidarios del centralismo nacional, prefirieron la coherencia ideológica cuando decidieron no adherirse a un grupo que incluye a los Vlaams Belang"
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