According to Vox, Spain’s new hard-Right force, today’s general elections are about the survival of Spain as a national entity.
Most European observers, however, will be looking to see how strongly Spain’s forces of moderation can survive the first real assault of Right-wing, anti-immigration and slightly Eurosceptical populism the country has experienced.
With no elections due this year in any of Europe’s biggest nations, all eyes are today on Spain as a bellwether for next month’s European Parliament poll, in which populist movements are expected to make a bigger impact than ever.
Spain, despite its political fragmentation that has brought about this, its third election in less than four years, has been making solid economic progress in the past half-decade, while also putting order in its public finances.
With unemployment still close to 15 per cent, the economy might have been expected to feature prominently in the campaign. But instead Spaniards have been beaten around the head with the strategic importance of the country’s first general election since the Catalan regional government’s unconstitutional referendum and declaration of independence in 2017.
Despite the fact that his Socialist party (PSOE) minority government fell because Catalan pro-independence parties withdrew their confidence and supply support, the incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has been accused of betraying Spain for trying to launch a negotiation process with Catalonia’s leaders.