A snap election in the Spanish state on Sunday has defied the pundits’ predictions of an outright majority for the Tory People’s Party (PP) and far right Vox. They are seven seats shy of a majority, but the outgoing left coalition has paid a price for its let-downs.
The PP came first with almost 8.2 million votes—winning 136 seats, 47 more than in 2019. The Labour-type PSOE—which heads the outgoing coalition government—wasn’t far behind the conservatives with almost 7.8 million and increased its number of seats by two to 122.
The far right Vox party is down from 52 to 33 seats, with the loss of over 600,000 votes. It came just ahead of the left wing Sumar coalition, made up of the once radical Podemos, the Communist Party-led United Left grouping and other forces.
Sumar, a junior partner in the coalition, won 31 seats—a loss of seven seats compared to when it stood as Unidas Podemos in 2019.
This reflects the let-downs of the left coalition formed at the end of 2019. The outgoing government has approved many important reforms, such as an increased minimum wage, housing laws, and on trans rights.
This was because of pressure from Unidas Podemos and left wing Catalan and Basque parties, the Republican Left of Catalonia and Basque Country Together.
But the left also tried to please big business and the banks. And last year the government justified the murder of dozens of migrants, mostly of African origin, on the border between Melilla and Morocco.
Although the right doesn’t have an outright majority, it is not clear that the left wing coalition government can continue. It would depend on Catalan independence political forces—from both the left and right.
The best news of the night was the loss of support by Vox. The majority of Spanish society has turned its back on a party that defends the Franco dictatorship, attacks transgender people and migrants, and denies the existence of violence against women.
But many of its votes have gone to the PP—which shows signs of radicalising to the right like the Republicans under Donald Trump. And the danger from the far right hasn’t disappeared—it continues to have a lot of influence electorally and socially.
It is, therefore, an urgent task to build the united struggle against fascism and racism. United Against Fascism and Racism includes a very wide range of social movements and the left in Catalonia.
It already demonstrated its effectiveness by defeating the fascist Platform for Catalunya party. In 2010-11 it was the strongest fascist institutional force in the entire state—today it no longer exists.
So it’s urgent that the rest of the left take up the need for a united front against fascism and racism—and extend it to other parts of the Spanish State.
More generally, there is an urgent need to build a stronger and more coherent anti-capitalist left. It shouldn’t be obsessed with elections, but rather dedicated to building struggles from below that offer real hope for the future.
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