MADRID — A regional election in Spain saw a surge of support for a far-right party and dealt a major setback to the ruling Socialists, prompting the prime minister on Monday to vow to defend democracy from fear.
The anti-migrant, anti-feminist and euroskeptic Vox party won 12 seats Sunday in the 109-member parliament of Andalusia, Spain’s most populated region and a bastion of the Socialists for the past 36 years.
The four-year-old Vox party, which had not previously held any seats in Spain, could now be a kingmaker and oust the Socialists from Andalusia’s regional government if they strike a deal with conservatives and the center-right to assemble a 59-seat majority.
Those leaders on Monday began talks to form a regional government, which both parties said would include contacts with Vox.
The surprising win — the most favorable polls ahead of the election predicted Vox would win about five seats — also launched the party’s strategy to make a dent in national politics and the European elections next year.
Still, analysts said that having Spain’s right-wing side themselves with the far-right could backfire, especially with local, other regional and European elections next year and a possible general election that could come any time before 2020.
Abascal, a 42-year-old scion of a family targeted by the separatist militant group ETA in his native Basque region, celebrated Vox’s victory saying the support came from those disgruntled and neglected in Andalusia who wanted to hear a party speak about “issues that they felt and no other party represented.”
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