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Vox backs Le Pen as Spain keeps an eye on French elections

Spain's far-right Vox Party candidate Santiago Abascal gives a speech during the closing election campaign event in Madrid, 8 November 2019
Spain's far-right Vox Party candidate Santiago Abascal gives a speech during the closing election campaign event in Madrid, 8 November 2019 Copyright AP Photo/Bernat Armangue
Copyright AP Photo/Bernat Armangue
By Jaime Velazquez
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This article was originally published in Spanish

In the run-up to the first round of French elections on Sunday, Spain's premier far-right party is hoping for a result that will amplify its own message.


Emmanuel Macron's call for snap elections following his party's defeat in the European elections has generated a wave of interest in Spanish politics.

Spain's politicians have their eyes trained on the high-stakes vote, looking for parallels with their own tense political situation. The fear of a far-right government in one of the EU's key countries is palpable, with concerns about its implications for European stability.

Borja Bergareche, partner of Communication and Leadership at Harmon, is critical of Macron's decision to take the risk of calling the election in the first place.

"If the intention was to awaken French society to the growing trend of support for the former National Front and other extreme right-wing parties, it seems clear that the decision was a mistake, because all the polls show Marine Le Pen's party and other extreme right-wing forces as the clear winner," he said.

The prospect of Le Pen's National Rally (RN) gaining significant power has alarmed those who are concerned about the future of European unity and democratic values.

"What happens in France directly affects the future of the European project and how much we allow the pernicious climate of polarisation that extremist forces such as Marine Le Pen are stirring up in Europe to take hold", explained Bergareche.

Among the forces that have observers worried are Spain's leading far-right party, Vox.

In tune with Vox

Le Pen herself appeared at an eventheld by Vox in Madrid before the European elections that brought together the main parties on their flank of the political spectrum.

"Your party, Vox, and your president, my dear Santiago Abascal, with whom we have been in contact for some time, embody the Spanish patriotic movement that I know I can count on," she said.

As further evidence of the closeness of the Vox-RN relationship, Le Pen vowed in an interview that if she becomes the next French leader she will prevent the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont from setting foot on French soil.

Abascal's party is confident that an RN victory will serve as a showcase to promote the ideas shared by the European far right.

Bergareche also underscored the complex political balance that would have to be struck should RN triumph in the French contest.

"The most likely scenario is a disturbing coalition between a centrist president like Macron and a National Front prime minister," he warned. "This poses major challenges for European politics and democratic stability."

The contest in France could directly influence the Spanish political landscape, shaping future strategies and alliances. But for now, all eyes are on 7 July, when the second round of the election will be concluded.

"The French lesson that applies to any other country is that it is increasingly difficult for moderate parties that are responsible in the institutions to project to their fellow citizens the small achievements of the small and valuable imperfect liberal democracies we have, which frustrate us all, but which are clearly the only system that saves the societies we have," Bergareche concluded.

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