The Progressive Post

No step back when facing the rise of the extreme right

Spain is no longer an exception. Progressive need to prevent Vox from injecting ideas into the public debate that are unlawful and discriminatory


The results of the 4thelection in just four years in Spain show that Spanish voters asked PSOE to continue to work for the stability of the country and for social justice for all. But aside the result and the ambition, one cannot overlook that in these elections there has been a rise of the extreme right’.

The Spanish citizens gave us their confidence again. PSOE – Partido Socialista Obrero Español – achieved a victory with the 28% of the votes. It scored first in 10 of the 17 Autonomous communities, as also in in 32 out of the 52 Spanish provinces. PSOE is ahead of the Partido Popular with 1,7 millions of votes and 32 seats. And it is preceding Podemos with 3,7 millions of votes and 88 seats.

It is clear that Spain needs a stable and progressive executive power, which will be able to pave the way forward and responsibly act in the face of social, institutional and international challenges. It will also have to insure democratic values, from the level of communities, from national to European and global politicsThere is also a clear demand for a government that will be engaged in political, economic and social dimensions of the European project. This is why our priorities will be aligned around the following axes: decent employment and fair pensions, feminism and the fight against any kind of inequality, climate emergency, just transition of the economy, technological advances and digital transformation, strengthening of the State of autonomous regions and of territorial cohesion, as well as consolidating Spain’s position within the EU and playing an important role in shaping the European project. 

Behind VOX success, a program

But aside the result and the ambition, one cannot overlook that in these elections there has been a rise of the extreme right’. The far right party VOX became the third party in the national parliament, having won 52 seats and 15% of the votes. Behind this success was a program that demands to suspend Catalan autonomy “until defeat”, that would imply presenting to the Constitutional Court the “laws that destroy freedom” and that argues that the violence against women is a “political invention”. Their program even states that in case of violence against women and feminicide, there should be a differentiation according to whether the man was drunk or not, which should be considered a mitigating factor. 

Spain, which had no representation of the extreme right in the national parliament until April this year, is no longer an exception. The specific reason for which it happened in Spain is related with the hardship of the last years. In the aftermath of the recent Great Recession, precarious jobs and social devaluation have become a commonplace for the middle and lower social classes. VOX’ narrative seemed to give an answer to the anxieties and frustrations created by these economic developments, while at the same time opposing migration, feminist movements, any kind of diversity and denying climate change.

“There can be no step back in the face of the extreme right.”

While we live in a historical moment where Spain has paid off its historical, moral and legal debt to the victims of Franco’s dictatorship with the exhumation of his remains, we should remember why those acts of commemoration matter so much. In fact, we need to show that we haven’t forgotten the lessons of history, and double our efforts to never allow the new nationalists movements to rise.

There can be no step back in the face of the extreme right. There can be no compromise in defending human rights, human dignity, freedom, in cherishing diversity, inclusiveness and striving for equality between women and men. We will not be able to stop the emergence of right-wing extremism by just applying a “cordon sanitaire”. We need to fight – striking back against their initiatives to block progressive policies. We need to undermine and reverse their ability to set the political agenda. We need to prevent them from injecting ideas into the public debate that are unlawful, discriminatory, based on fake news and harm – not only because of their falseness, but also because of the danger that they present to democracy that we are committed to safeguard and promote now and in the future.

Find all related publications

A New Global Deal

Reforming world governance

The transformation of the mainstream right and its impact on (social) democracy


Expected labour market effects of the Green Deal Industrial Plan

The potential of labour policy for Just Transition regions

Labour migration in the Western Balkans

Balkan Focus series
Find all related news

FEPS welcomes the signing of the La Hulpe Declaration


FEPS supports the declaration of Portimão calling for affordable housing in the EU

Affordable housing needs Europe, Europe needs affordable housing

FEPS stands with Zita Gurmai against persecution from Orban regime


Interview with Maria João Rodrigues on the need for EU treaty changes with Euronews

Find all related in the media
In the media

Karl Polanyi against the ‘free market’ dystopia

by Social Europe 23/04/2024
In this article published in Social Europe, FEPS Secretary General László Andor reassess the Hungarian social scientist’s legacy.

Jetzt oder nie: Österreichs digitales Schicksal entscheidet sich (auch) im Klassenzimmer!

by Börse Express 14/04/2024
'Now or never: Austria's digital fate will (also) be decided in the classroom!' Börse Express's article mentions FEPS policy brief 'Europe needs high-tech talent'

EU-VÍZIÓ, Dull Szabolcs újságíró Andor Lászlóval beszélget

by MÚOSZ Magyar Újságírók Országos Szövetsége 11/04/2024
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the EU great Eastern enlargement, FEPS Secretary General László Andor talks, in this video interview to the Hungarian Journalists' Association, the functioning of the Commission and its further development.

Sustainable democracies need a sustainable media sector, says Jourová

by EURACTIV 02/04/2024
FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues discusses AI and journalism at Stars4Media event