The far right obtains its first share of power in Spain since Franco

MADRID, March 10 (Reuters) – A far-right party will hold a share of power in Spain for the first time since Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, with the Vox party securing a place in a coalition leading the regional government of Castile and Leon.

Alonso Fernandez Mañueco, the new regional president of the conservative People’s Party (PP), announced the deal on Twitter just before the new regional parliament convened for its first session. The PP won just over a third of the vote in an election in February, meaning it had to search for a coalition partner.

Fernandez Mañueco promised “a stable and solid government with full respect for the constitutional order” and the autonomous status of the region.

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Vox regional chief Juan Garcia-Gallardo called the coalition deal “reasonable…with no winners or losers.” He added in a message on Twitter, “Let’s all work together, with a desire for dialogue and agreement, to achieve a legislature that benefits the citizens”.

Vox was launched in 2014 and is now the third largest party in the national parliament, reducing the PP’s vote share. The PP is the country’s main opposition party and has traditionally alternated power with the currently ruling Socialists, but has seen its support eroded by corruption scandals. Read more

Vox is campaigning to repeal a law banning Franco-era symbols and feminist-inspired legislation.

It also seeks to end Spain’s quasi-federal organization, in which regions independently administer key policies such as health and education, and wants to return Spain to the centralist form of government that existed during the dictatorship.

Fernandez Mañueco’s words about respecting Castile and Leon’s autonomous status were apparently meant to fend off any attempts by VOX to dilute that.

Vox’s rise to regional governance is another win for the far right in Europe, which has extended support to France, Italy and Portugal. This could herald a further rise in support in Andalusia, Spain’s most populous region, which will hold elections in the coming months.

The last time the far right held power in Spain was during the 1937 merger of the fascist Falange with other traditionalist factions in a one-party system that lasted until Francisco’s death. Frank in 1975.

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Reporting by Belén Carreño Editing by Aislinn Laing and Frances Kerry

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