Spain’s far-right Vox party set to double vote share in snap election, poll shows

The anti-immigrant, populist party has capitalised on Catalan instability to increase its appeal

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 26, 2018 Santiago Abascal, leader of Spain's far-right party VOX, gives a speech during a campaign meeting ahead of regional elections in Andalusia, in Granada.  Spain's right party Partido Popular PP and centre-right Ciudadanos concluded an agreement, but they will need votes from the far-right to be invested and rule Andalusia. / AFP / CRISTINA QUICLER
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With Spanish voters due to vote in a snap parliamentary election, the country’s Vox party has experienced a surge in support with an early poll showing the far-right movement could nearly double its seats.

The poll, put in the field by Sigma Dos for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, has shown Vox would get 44 seats in Spain's 350 sear parliament if the election were held tomorrow. The party won 24 seats in the country's April election. Spanish voters are due to head to the polls on November 10.

Winning the 24 seats in April was a major coup for Vox, as the first formidable far-right force in Spanish politics since the death of Francisco Franco and the end of his dictatorial regime in the 1970s.

The poll showed Spain’s left-wing Socialist Worker’s Party (PSoE) remained the largest party, though it has reportedly lost a number of seats since April’s inconclusive national vote.

The PSoE, looks set to win 120 seats with the right Popular Party (PP) increasing its showing from 66 seats in April to 94 in this most recent poll. Establishing itself as the third force in Spanish politics Vox has surpassed the centre-right citizens party and the far-left United We Can party.

The Vox Party, which has campaigned to abolish Spain’s devolved governments and centralise power in Madrid, has won support because of its hard-line stance during unrest in Catalonia focused on that region’s capital Barcelona.

Protests, characterised by violent clashes between police and demonstrators, erupted in the Catalan capital in October following the Supreme Court’s decision to sentence nine Catalan leaders to prison for their role in what was later ruled an illegal attempt to break away from Spain in 2017.

In anticipation of the custodial sentences, Catalan independence activists had prepared to mobilise in civil disobedience through what they called a “Democratic Tsunami”.

Vox’s leader Santiago Abascal, an outspoken politician from the Basque Country, has also capitalised on Franco’s much debated exhumation. On October 24 the dictator was moved from an elaborate mausoleum to a simple grave, the fulfilment of a pledge by the country’s socialist government.

While Spain’s political left had vowed to end the glorification of the country’s fascist past, a significant minority opposed the move. Scores of protesters gathered outside the El Pardo cemetery to protest the exhumation.

Echoing US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, Mr Abascal has called for a secure wall to be built around the tiny Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla which sit on the northern shores of Morocco's Mediterranean coast. The right-wing leader has said Morocco should pay for the wall to stop the flow of migrants through the route from North Africa to Europe.