MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s far-right party Vox debuted in the upper house of parliament by blocking a motion calling for an official stance against homophobia in sport.
Vox automatically obtained the right to send one representative to the senate after it won 12 seats in a regional election in Andalusia in December, the first electoral success for the far-right in Spain in four decades.
The declaration that was meant to mark support for policies combating homophobia in sports, ahead of the International Day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, required unanimity to be adopted.
Vox’s Senator José Alcaraz took part in his first senate session on Wednesday. A Senate official said the proposal had been pulled late that day after Alcaraz signalled he would not back it.
The draft declaration “is not a mere declaration against discrimination, it is an ideological pamphlet with which the PSOE (socialist party) and the groups that back it try to sneak gender ideology through the back door”, Vox tweeted, to explain the new senator’s opposition to the text.
Vox said that Alcaraz had not backed any initiative on his first day as senator because he hadn’t had time to prepare or table amendments.
“In Spain, there is no LGTBphobia,” the party’s official account also tweeted.
Memories of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who died in 1975, meant Spain had long been immune to the growing popularity of far-right parties in much of Europe.
But Vox has become increasingly popular in Spain in recent months.
The first opinion polls published since Socialist Prime Minister Sanchez on Friday called snap elections for April 28 forecast Vox would win between 16 and 46 seats in Spain’s 350-strong lower house of parliament.
Spain’s senate is made up of senators sent by each region and senators elected directly by voters.
(Reporting by Belen Carreno; Writing by Paul Day and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Susan Fenton)