A victory for Spanish socialists – who won the most seats in the country’s snap general election yesterday (April 29) – has been tempered because for the first time since the Franco era a number of far-right MPs were also elected.
Unite welcomed the socialist victory but described gains by the far right as “deeply disturbing”, especially for Unite members in Gibraltar.
Spain’s incumbent Socialist Party (PSOE) emerged from the elections with the most seats and is reported to be in discussions to form a coalition with the leftist Podemos party.
Meanwhile, Vox became the first far-right party to send MPs to the Cortes since General Franco’s death in 1975 after campaigning on an anti-immigrant and “make Spain great again” ticket.
Despite the populist rhetoric Vox managed to secure just 24 seats while the PSOE won 123 out of a possible 350.
“We have sent a clear message to Europe and the world: you can beat authoritarianism and involution from the left,” said Spain’s prime minister and PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez.
Unite international director Simon Dubbins said the union was “obviously pleased” that the PSOE emerged as the largest party in the elections but warned about the rise of the far right.
“There is a good chance the PSOE may be able to form a government and Europe desperately needs progressive left governments,” said Dubbins.
“However, we are deeply disturbed that a far-right party has now got significant representation in the Spanish parliament.
“We are appalled that just over 40 years after Franco’s death with the crimes of his regime well known and documented, that a political party supporting them has entered parliament.”
Dubbins said the union was also concerned about the potential implications for Unite members in Gibraltar, which is a focal point for Vox and other far-right parties who contest its sovereignty.
“We have already seen the far right trying to exploit the boarder question for their own divisive aims,” Dubbins explained.
“Now more than ever it is essential that all democratic and progressive forces unite across Europe and face the common enemy of the nationalistic far-right.”