Andalucia’s regional presidential candidate has struck a deal with far-right outfit Vox to enable him to govern in coalition with centre-right Ciudadanos, signalling a complete about-turn in strategy for the southern territory.
Juanma Moreno of the right-wing PP is joining forces with Ciudadanos, given that no party obtained an outright majority in the recent regional elections, ending the socialist reign with Susana Díaz as Andalucía’s president for two terms of office.
To ensure he is voted in during the in-house elections, Moreno needed a guaranteed ‘yes’ from Vox who, with 12 seats out of 110, has become the first far-right party to gain a foothold in government anywhere in Spain since General Franco’s fascist dictatorship.
Although apparently a cause for concern, it is not thought Spain will feel much influence from the alt-right movement, given the very small number of seats Vox holds in just one of 19 regional Parliaments – those of each of the 17 self-governing territories, plus the two city-provinces of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern Moroccan coast.
Ciudadanos has been harshly criticised by its newest member at a national level, former French prime minister Manuel Valls – who was born in Barcelona – for agreeing to a governing pact with the far right, but Ciudadanos Andalucía insists that of Vox’ 37 proposed measures, 23 were already in its own manifesto.
Vox sparked outrage among women’s groups when its list of conditions for supporting the PP and Ciudadanos included abolishing regional domestic violence and equality laws and legislation banning discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, but after a round of meetings with Moreno and his team, has agreed not to uphold this aspect.
The party also agreed to ditch its proposal to deport 52,000 immigrants and to ‘celebrate’ the Christian reconquest in the late Mediaeval era which saw the Moors thrown out of the country after 500 years of residence.
In exchange, the PP has agreed to scrap the Law of Historic Memory and replace it with a Law of Concordance, and to support bullfighting legislation which regards the ‘sport’ as a ‘tradition’ of the region on the same footing as flamenco and the Semana Santa, or Easter week parades.
Moreno has also agreed with Vox to increase resources for border protection to ‘guarantee legal and orderly immigration’ which ‘respects Western culture’, eliminating all decisions on immigration which ‘could encourage’ migrants to attempt to reach Spain and to ‘prevent the threat of Islamic fundamentalism’.
Vox has also convinced Moreno to create a ‘ministry for the family’, and to give parents free rein to choose their children’s ‘schooling model’, which means they will be allowed to exclude their kids from any classes or educational projects that ‘go against their values or convictions’.
It also wants the PP to ‘guarantee the coexistence of State and private education’ and allow all-boys’ and all-girls’ schools to continue – a rare structure in Spain, but one which has created considerable controversy in recent years.
The parties have agreed to scrap all grants or benefits to ‘legal or physical persons or associations’ which ‘do not show a clear public and social purpose’.
Measures Vox has proposed which have largely formed part of the manifestos of all parties standing for regional election include cutting inheritance and donation tax by 99%, reducing the regional government’s slice of income tax and asset tax, promoting ways of achieving a work-life balance for residents, promoting and supporting maternity and paternity to help soften Spain’s birth-rate crisis – which will involve, among other features, guaranteed free nursery school education for all under-threes from birth onwards, and tax breaks for families, especially large families with three or more children – cutting health service waiting lists and reducing overcrowding in A&E, improving care and service at GP level, reinforcing palliative care and pain units, and increasing funding for early detection and prevention.
Additionally, Vox wants to develop a regional adoption plan and a support system for women affected by unwanted pregnancies which would provide them with ‘information, assistance and socio-economic alternatives’ – much of this being an attempt to reduce or even eradicate the need for abortion, in keeping with Vox’s pro-life stance.