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Govt vows to ‘fight Vox lies with truth’ after Spanish election result

Spanish newspapers announce the victory of Spain's Prime Minister and candidate of the Spanish Socialist Party, Pedro Sanchez, a day after the general election, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Photo: AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos

The Gibraltar Government yesterday welcomed the fact that Spain’s Socialists was the most voted party in Sunday’s general election, even as it warned too about the surge in support for far right party Vox.

This comes as Vox more than doubled its number of MPs as Spain’s fourth national election in as many years once again failed to deliver a majority government.

The result has confirmed re-election polling that suggested both that the Socialist Party would be the largest party and that the far-right Vox would make significant gains.

The Chief Minister and GSLP Leader, Fabian Picardo, welcomed the fact that the PSOE was the largest party to emerge from the Spanish election.

Yesterday he wrote to PSOE Leader Pedro Sánchez congratulating him on the result, which saw PSOE top the polls even while losing three MPs.

But Mr Picardo also struck a note of caution about Vox.

“The rise of Vox, a party that has made false and disparaging remarks about Gibraltar, will nonetheless also be a concern to many,” he said.

“As we celebrate 100 years since the end of the first world war, 75 years next year since victory in Europe and 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, we have to be conscious of the rise, once again, of the far right in Europe.

“We must combat the populist narrative of parties like Vox with something as damning and dangerous to it as the truth.”

“Let no one have any doubt that we will do that, fighting their attempt to spread lies about us and to incite hatred against us, in every relevant forum and tribunal.”

OPPOSITION

Gibraltar’s Opposition parties echoed Mr Picardo’s sentiment as both the GSD and Together Gibraltar expressed concern over the rise of Vox and its impact on relations between Gibraltar and Spain.

GSD Leader Keith Azopardi said the rise of the hard right both nationally and regionally was a worrying development for Gibraltar.

“We already saw during the campaign that Vox promoted extreme and disproportionate views on Gibraltar,” he said.

“With a strong showing and 52 seats in the new Spanish Parliament their position of influence could pressurise other parties into hardening their position on regionalism, nationalism and on Gibraltar.”

“We need to stay vigilant to that prospect although it is, of course, out of our control as a matter of Spanish domestic politics.”

“What is within our control is the planning for worst case scenarios which should remain our default position in Gibraltar.”

“The best that could have been hoped in the Spanish elections for is an emergence of a workable majority for left leaning parties or a coalition of the left. The actual results make that prospect more complicated than it was after the 28 April elections.”

“This instability can impact on relations with Gibraltar and the period leading up to the negotiation of a new arrangement with the EU should Brexit become inevitable.”

“We may soon have that answer when the UK goes to the polls on December 12.”

“Clearly from the Gibraltar perspective we will have to face whatever Spanish Government emerges and remain resolute in the challenging years to come.”

Together Gibraltar Leader Marlene Hassan Nahon said the Spanish election result had created a similar impasse to the preceding three elections, with no party able to form government.

But the “worst and most obvious concern” was the rise of the populist far right party Vox, especially in the nearby Campo area.

She added that this pointed to a “cultural and societal shift which we must note and be wary of, and one which has the potential to pose obstacles for good working relations between us and our neighbouring region.”
“We hope the PSOE finds the formula to form a stable government, even though it appears mathematically improbable.”