Spain’s right-wing People’s Party (PP) and the far-right Vox group agreed on Friday to form a coalition in the region of Aragón, following the 28 May regional elections – and as negotiations continue on the national level following the 23 July general election that has left a hung parliament.
Aragón is the fourth of Spain’s 17 regions where the far-right party has taken power through coalition agreements, after Vox entered the regional governments of Extremadura and Valencia in June of this year, preceded by a similar PP-Vox coalition in Castilla y León in 2022.
The PP had come out on top in Aragón, after the 28 May municipal and regional elections, but failed to reach an absolute majority, requiring a partnership to avoid another election being called. ALSO READ: Spain’s right-wing make significant gains in local and regional elections.
The presidency of Aragón will be held by the PP’s Jorge Azcón, while Vox will oversee the departments of agricultural and territorial development, as well as justice.
Azcón was not present at the signing of the coalition on Friday, leading socialist (PSOE) spokeswoman Pilar Alegría to criticise the PP for being happy to form pacts with Vox, but not show face.
‘PP and Vox demonstrate today in Aragón that once again they go hand in hand, although they try to avoid being photographed together,’ said Alegría [see Tweet below].
Instead PP and Vox spokespersons Ana Alós and Alejandro Nolasco faced the cameras as the two parties agreed to jointly rule the region of 1.3 million inhabitants.
The pact comes after PP and Vox politicians in the region agreed to 80 points relating to everything from health and education to environment and employment, with the most controversial changes planned being the cancellation of PSOE-led transgender rights and the Democratic Memory law, the introduction of parental vetoes in schools and the promotion of a new public-private healthcare.
‘This government is going to be a containment dam in the defence of the equality of all Spaniards and all Aragonese,’ the PP’s Alós told journalists.
The results of local elections prompted the call for an early General Election, held on 23 July, which saw Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s party gain far more votes than polls predicted, but still fall short of a majority. The PP won with 137 seats, also short of a majority, leaving the socialists a window to form government with enough alliances. ALSO READ: With Sánchez and Feijóo both claiming victory in the election … what happens next?
However, PP has now managed to partner with Vox to take power in several cities in the country, which has drawn criticism from the left particularly over the far-right party’s renunciation of the concept of gender violence. ALSO READ: Gender violence becomes key issue in PP-Vox pacts ahead of 23 July election.
Spain’s new parliament will meet in a month, later in August. In accordance with official procedure, king Felipe VI is then expected to invite one of the party leaders, Feijóo or Sánchez, to try to form a government.
That leader would then put his candidacy to parliamentary votes. Any candidate getting sufficient support can form a government. The 350 MPs have up to three months to reach an agreement. Otherwise, a new election would be triggered.
España ya ha dicho en las urnas que no quiere gobiernos de retroceso sino mirar #Adelante— PSOE SENADO (@gpssenado) August 4, 2023
PP y Vox demuestran hoy en #Aragón, una vez más, que van de la mano. Aunque intenten evitar ser fotografiados juntos.
🗣️@Pilar_Alegria ⏩ pic.twitter.com/zOpgvPaUDp
🔵🟢 Comenzamos una nueva etapa. Avanzamos para dar a Aragón un Gobierno de cambio, que cuide de los aragoneses y que ponga Aragón por encima de todo. https://t.co/5aNjtUp3mx— Jorge Azcón (@Jorge_Azcon) August 4, 2023