Speaking at Davos, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez issues warning about far-right parties

SPANISH Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez used his platform at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday to warn against allowing far-right political parties into governing institutions.

The Socialist Party (PSOE) leader said that extremist parties were a ‘very real threat’ to democracy, and went so far as to say that they could destroy ‘the European Union from inside’ in comments that were reported by Spain’s EFE news agency. 

Speaking in English, Sánchez was commenting on a day when a row was playing out between the Castilla y Leon regional government and the central administration in Madrid over abortion rights. 

Last week, the deputy premier in the northern Spanish area, Vox politician Juan García-Gallardo, announced that all women seeking a termination in the region would be offered a chance to listen to the foetal heartbeat and see a 4D ultrasound scan before going ahead with the procedure. 

The announcement, however, was quickly contradicted by the premier of Castilla y Leon, the Popular Party politician Alfonso Fernandez Mañueco, who stated that no such extra measures would be going into place.

At Davos, Sanchez stopped short of calling out Vox by name. He did, however, say that the threat of extremist parties was especially dangerous for ‘countries where these far-right forces have the support of mainstream conservative parties’.

This was a veiled reference to the coalition between the PP and Vox in Castilla y Leon, a deal that appears to be under threat since the abortion row broke out. Vox is threatening to suspend it should the PP not keep to its ‘promises’ over action to reduce the number of terminations. 

Castilla y Leon is currently the only region where Vox is in power in coalition with the PP. Since the far-right group started to gain popularity in Spain – it is currently the third-largest party in the Congress of Deputies after the PSOE and the PP – it has supported the formation of PP-led administrations in Madrid, Murcia and Andalucia, and has also had a presence on a local level. 

No working majority

However, it could play a key role in the wake of the upcoming general elections, which will take place late this year. The current government is a coalition of the PSOE and junior partner Unidas Podemos. But the administration lacks a working majority and so must do deals with smaller parties in order to pass legislation. 

At the upcoming elections, one possible outcome is for a coalition deal between the conservative Popular Party and far-right Vox. 

The latest polling from the public CIS research institute, released on Wednesday, shows that the PSOE would win an election if it were held today, with a 1.7-point advantage over the PP.

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