Spain’s right-wing People’s Party (PP) and the far-right Vox group said on Friday that they had reached a deal to jointly govern the Extremadura region in their latest tie-up, just weeks before a general election.
It was their second such agreement since the 28 May local and regional elections when both parties saw gains, with the results dealing a major blow to the ruling PSOE socialists and their left-wing coalition partner Podemos and prompting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to announce a snap election on 23 July.
Extremadura’s regional government will be headed by the PP’s María Guardiola while Vox will take the agricultural portfolio, which will be renamed the department of forest management and the rural world, the two parties said in a statement.
Extremadura becomes the third of Spain’s 17 regions to be jointly run by the PP and Vox, following a first such arrangement in the Castilla y León region last year, and another in Valencia earlier this month.
Polls have long indicated the PP will win the 23 July election, but without an absolute majority, meaning the party will likely have to seek Vox’s support to govern at a national level.
The two parties have also inked a deal in the Balearic Islands where Vox has agreed to abstain in order to ensure the investiture of the PP’s Marga Prohens as head of the regional government.
Although the PP will govern alone in the Mediterranean archipelago, it will be supported by Vox in the regional parliament.
Details of their agreement in Valencia sparked widespread criticism after the PP aligned itself with Vox on several issues, notably dropping the concept of ‘gender violence’ — that specifically perpetrated by a man against a woman — in favour of ‘intra-family violence’ which applies to any violence within a domestic context.
Within the Valencia government, Vox holds the deputy leader’s position and runs two regional departments.
So far, the parties have not made public details of their agreement in Extremadura which gives less weight to Vox than in Valencia.
The Extremadura agreement was reached after lengthy negotiations that were complicated by the remarks of Vox’s deputy leader in Valencia who controversially denied the existence of gender-based violence.
Earlier this month, the PP’s Guardiola had quickly ruled out any agreement with ‘a party that denies male violence against women’, but was later pushed to enter talks with Vox. ALSO READ: Gender violence becomes key issue in PP-Vox pacts ahead of 23 July election.
Her opposition had initially been supported by the PP until its leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo said her reaction had been ‘inappropriate’.
At a press briefing on Friday Guardiola said that her previous comments ‘were the result of significant anger, a frustration at a specific moment’.
Lo primero es y va a seguir siendo Extremadura. Hemos llegado a un buen acuerdo para formar el gobierno del cambio. Lo hemos conseguido buscando lo que nos une y apartando lo que nos separa. Voy a trabajar intensamente para ofrecer la Extremadura que merecemos. pic.twitter.com/saLkxmf4Um— María Guardiola (@MGuardiolaPP) June 30, 2023
‼️ #ÚLTIMAHORA— VOX 🇪🇸 (@vox_es) June 30, 2023
VOX y PP llegan a un acuerdo para el gobierno y el cambio político en Extremadura.
El acuerdo incluye entrada en el gobierno regional de ambas fuerzas políticas y 60 medidas para revertir las nefastas políticas socialistas.
📰 Nota de prensa ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Me5PYQpVy6