30 Jun, 2023 @ 16:30
2 mins read

Popular Party in Extremadura does complete U-turn and will enter into government with far-right Vox

PP leader Alberto Nuñez Feijóo
El Programa de Ana Rosa

THE LEADER of the conservative Popular Party in Extremadura, Maria Guardiola, did a complete U-turn on Friday and signed a coalition deal with far-right Vox in order to form a government. 

The move comes more than a month after the inconclusive elections in the region, and after Guardiola’s repeated insistence that she would not govern with Vox. 

The politician justified the move by saying that she had gone through a ‘deep process of reflection’ and had decided to put ‘the interests’ of the people of Extremadura first, according to comments reported by Europa Press. 

The manoeuvre will see her become the regional premier of Extremadura, taking power from the Socialist Party, while Vox will be in charge of the Forest and Rural Management department within the government. 

A statement released on Friday announcing the deal made reference to a program with 60 measures, none of which have yet been made public. They will, however, ‘guarantee a government of change’ and will ‘reverse the consequences of the political inertia of the Socialist Party in recent years’. 

For their part, the Socialists slammed the deal, accusing the PP of having ‘disposable principles’ and of having bowed to the far right. 

“The PP has taken 10 days before it ate its own words, and has bowed down to the far right that is Vox,” said PSOE secretary Santos Cerdan. 

Last week there was talk of a rerun of the elections in Extremadura, given the failure of the PP and Vox to reach an agreement over the makeup of the speaker’s committee in the regional assembly. In the end, the Socialist Party won most votes and now has control of the body. 

In the wake of that falling out between the PP and Vox, Guardiola complained that the far-right party had ‘put its lust for power first’ and that any kind of deal with Vox had been impossible.

The source of the disagreement was Vox’s policies on issues such as domestic violence and LGBTQ+ rights, which include a denial that gender violence exists and policies that will roll back equality measures. One Vox member recently put forward for a key post in Valencia has a conviction for domestic abuse. 

The struggle between the PP and Vox to do deals is damaging the prospects of the PP at the upcoming snap general election, which will be held on July 23. 

Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called those polls the day after his and other leftist parties suffered at the May 28 local and regional elections. Analysts suggested that he had done so to ensure that the PP would be making deals with far-right Vox during the run-up to the polls, damaging its chances. 

From the events in Extremadura this week, it would appear that this strategy has been successful, with the PP starting to slip in the polls despite being predicted to be the winner on July 23. This week saw Sanchez warmly received on the hit TV chat show El Hormiguero, where he argued that the likely PP-Vox coalition that will emerge from the July 23 election would be a throwback to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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