Supporters of Spanish right-wing party VOX at a rally (Photo: VOX /

In the Upcoming European Elections VOX is the Voice of the Spanish Right

Once a source of hope and ambition for the right in Spain, Vox’s popularity and ability to define the political agenda has declined. What are the main reasons behind this and how is Spain’s definitive party on the new conservative side looking before the European elections allegedly bringing the European conservative forces closer to being a defining force? Because in the European elections VOX seems to be a force to be reckoned with.

Spanish right-wing party Vox emerged in 2014 to change the bipartisanship that existed in Spain and bring issues of debate to the forefront that traditional parties had not spoken, or had spoken relatively little about.

The first big leap Vox had on the political scene were the trials against pro-independence politicians who had held an illegal referendum in Catalonia on the independence of the territory and subsequently unilaterally declaring Catalonia as an independent state. Vox presented itself to demonstrate, in part, the illegality that Catalan politicians had committed and, in turn, Vox’s staunch defence of the protection of national unity. Likewise, their final “catapultation” came with the 2018 Andalusian elections, where they entered a regional parliament for the first time with 12 seats and 10.96 percent of the vote.

Leader of Spanish right-wing party VOX Santiago Abascal (Photo: VOX /

Leader of Spanish right-wing party VOX Santiago Abascal (Photo: VOX /

Later, in the 2019 general elections they would get 24 seats with 10.26 percent of the votes, although there was an electoral repetition and that was the key point to consolidate, since in the second general elections they got 52 deputies with 15.08 percent of the votes. Later, in the corresponding general elections, they obtained coalition governments, such as those of Castilla y León, Extremadura, Aragón and Valencia. However, in the last general elections Vox fell, obtaining 33 deputies and 12.38 percent of the votes.

Factors For Decline: Forgetting About Defining Issues

What happened to Vox that caused them to lose 600 000 votes in the last general election? Many have debated about why this could happen, but there are a few reasons to pinpoint.

First of all, one of the main reasons has been their lack of interventions in the mainstream media and in the Spanish center-right media. After all, despite the fact that Vox has a strong presence in social networks and that is one of its greatest strengths, the majority of the Spanish population continues to watch television, listen to the radio and read traditional mediums, although this is decreasing year by year, but at the moment it is how the majority of Spaniards end up being informed.

The party has also been criticized for having neglected the economy, despite the fact that in the campaign they had one of the best economists and politicians in the Congress of Deputies, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, but it is true that they did not focus excessively on the economy and put the focus on “the cultural battle”, which is quite important, but many Spaniards vote thinking about their pockets and that took its toll. Also, not including people with a classical liberal ideology (such as Rubén Manso) and less “nationalist” on the lists or having them in lower numbers also caused them to be put in the spotlight as not very liberal economically and as a more protectionist party. However, the Popular Party (PP from now on) did this and it did not take such a toll on them.

Thirdly, many believe that there are issues that Vox talks about which should be “sacrificed”, since they are issues that are already deeply rooted in Spanish society and that can hardly make Spaniards change their minds. One of them would be gay marriage and dealing with the “LGBTQ lobby”, since Spaniards still think that the rainbow flag is a symbol of LGBTQ people and its violation means violating homosexuals and their respective rights. This was criticized in Vox when it made a famous pre-election campaign with a poster in which the LGBTQ flag was seen in a garbage.

Likewise, abortion is another of the big issues that Spanish society has normalized and that can hardly be discussed and debated to change any fundamental aspect of abortion. In fact, these same issues have been sacrificed by the Rassemblement National, Marine Le Pen’s party in France. We saw this a few months ago when Le Pen’s party voted in favor of establishing abortion as a fundamental right in France, something that did not sit very well in the conservative sector and was widely criticized. Also, another statistic that plays in favor of Le Pen in France is the fact that many homosexuals and LGBT people have voted and will vote for Le Pen in France, as they believe that she has the right message, as they believe that Muslims pose a greater threat to their existence.

Vox’s Strengths: Own Issues on the Political Agenda and its International Relations

However, there are objectively good things that Vox has achieved as a party and despite having lost 600 000 votes in the last elections. They still have a voter base of three million people and that is quite a merit, especially in Spain, where we have seen parties like UpyD, Ciudadanos and practically Podemos disappear.
First of all, Vox has been able to bring issues to the political agenda that no other party had done and that in politics is fundamental and important, that is, to make other parties talk about your measure.
Illegal and massive immigration has been “the issue” in capital letters of Vox, which has had all parties talking about it, both in a good way, and in a bad way. We have seen political parties that had never spoken out on the issue do so, such as Junts per Catalunya, a center-right Catalan pro-independence party, although now more center, which stated that it wanted immigration competences to control illegal immigration and the insecurity it causes. Salvador Illa, leader of the PSC (the PSOE in Catalonia) defended before the Catalan elections of May 12 to regulate immigration stating “Here not everyone can come, it cannot be”. Likewise, the Alianca Catalana party, a conservative Catalan pro-independence party, ran for the first time in the Catalan elections with a message against illegal and massive immigration in Catalonia and managed to obtain two deputies, in addition to governing in the region of Ripoll.
Secondly, the international relations that Vox has garnered are worthy of admiration.
Vox has the best international relations in Spain, in America, the support of the former President of the United States Donald Trump, Nayik Bukele in El Salvador,  Javier Milei in Argentina, José Antonio Kast (he eventually lost in the second round of the last presidential elections in Chile), former president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro and in Paraguay, President Santiago Peña. In Europe their ties are even stronger, such as the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, in Poland former Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, in France, Marine Le Pen (lost in the second round of the last presidential elections in France), in Italy, President Giorgia Meloni, in Portugal, André Ventura (third force in Portugal) and a host of other great figures. This gives Vox the image of a serious party, which can make international politics and be a state party, although the media caricature them as “ultras.”

We have seen these international relations at the CPAC in Washington, the CPAC Hungary and the recent Vox event called “VIVA 24.” At the Vox event there was another key figure, Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Combating Anti-Semitism Amichai Chikli, a very relevant figure in international politics, although some conservatives have criticized Chikli’s attendance at the event.

VOX Before the European Elections

The European elections are something very important for Vox, they believe they can get good results and they are fighting for it. In fact, if the 3 million voters who voted in the general elections voted for Vox, they would get 10 deputies, a very good figure for the party. However, the latest 40db poll for El País gives them 12.3 percent, which would translate to 8-9 MEPs, which would be very good data, as they would go from having four MEPs to at least 8, which would be doubling seats.
The flags of the European Union, Spain and Catalonia. (Source:

The flags of the European Union, Spain and Catalonia. (Source:

At CPAC Hungary I had the opportunity to interview Santiago Abascal, leader of the Vox party. In reference to the European elections, Abascal told me “if ECR comes third, it would mean a change of course in the European Union. A European Union dominated by a socialist and a European popular party that share ideology. At the moment they are the same parties with the same ideologies, but with different clothes and different acronyms, and I think that the growth of the ECR, of which we are part, and also of other groups that we agree with, such as the ID, is very important to change the direction of the EU.”
“We believe that the strength of the conservative and sovereigntist groups would be essential to force the EPP to break that terrible alliance it has had with the left for so long,” said Abascal.

VOX: Here to Stay

Vox has shown that despite its electoral decline in last year’s general elections, it is still a party that has a place in the elections in Spain, that has its own issues that influence other parties to talk about them and that is relevant in the political agenda. Likewise, they have a great weight in international alliances in what I call “the new conservative right”, which is having more and more support in Europe and America.
Vox is not a party, as many analysts predict it will disappear, Vox has come to stay in the Spanish political scene.

“The Popular Party has dreams about the disappearance of Vox, which it directs to the PP and all the media and for which its finances have been dedicated to, I do not know if on 10 or 12 occasions. In all elections we witness the same story, which is destroyed in the votes. Vox can go up, it can go down, but Vox is not going to disappear”, said Abascal.

Finally, they will have to make a decision whether to follow Le Pen’s model and sacrifice issues to attract more voters, even though the issues are of utmost importance, or continue with their same message without changing one iota of their discourse.
Sergio Velasco
Sergio Velasco is a Spanish political scientist, analyst and political commentator. He is the founder of Filosofia Política, a social media-based enterprise where he details and offers his take on Spanish, Hungarian and Polish political developments. A columnist in Hungarian and Spanish press, he is often invited on television to share his thoughts with the viewers.

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