A far-right party battling for votes in Spain‘s general election wants to take Gibraltar back from Britain if it wins. Led by Santiago Abascal, Vox may remain the third largest force in the Spanish parliament after Sunday’s vote and could form a coalition government if the Popular Party fails to secure an outright majority.
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Mr Abascal, 47, has said of the British overseas territory: “We will dismantle the networks of piracy, drug trafficking, smuggling and money laundering that extend from Gibraltar and we will apply all the international pressure necessary to recover this occupied territory.”
Vox says in its manifesto: “We will reject any EU-UK or Spain-UK agreement that does not respect Spain’s sovereign rights over the British colony of Gibraltar.
“We will demand from the European Union a firm commitment to Spain’s legitimate aspiration to recover Gibraltar. It is unacceptable that there should be a tax haven on sovereign Spanish soil.”
Negotiations over an international treaty to regulate Gibraltar’s relations with the European Union and its place in the bloc’s Schengen Area have been put on hold by Spain’s early general election on July 23.
What happens to the Rock after Sunday in part depends upon the outcome of the vote.
The political parties vying for votes have laid out their positions with Vox’s position viewed as the most aggressive.
The Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) wants a deal on Gibraltar which would create an area of shared prosperity and respect Spain’s legal position regarding its sovereignty.
The People’s Party (PP), led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo who is tipped to lead his party to victory, has said it is committed to resuming a “responsible dialogue” with the British government over “the process of decolonisation” of Gibraltar and the recovery of sovereignty.
It has also told voters it is committed to addressing “the situation that has arisen after Brexit, defending Spanish interests in fiscal, financial, environmental and security matters” as well as the free movement of people.
Adelante Andalucía, a regional, political coalition, claims the autonomous community is “occupied by imperialist military forces” under the camouflage of the joint military bases of Rota and Morón.
The party says: “These bases, far from being any guarantee for the Andalusian population in the event of a conflict, are the launching pad for the imperialist armies of the USA and UK in their struggle to maintain world hegemony in African territory, in the Persian Gulf and in their struggle, in general, to maintain control of geostrategic areas.
“It is also a serious risk factor for our population, including a nuclear conflict, and it is the use of our soil to massacre other peoples.”
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Most polls and recent ballots in Spain suggest the vote will go against Pedro Sánchez, who has been Spain’s prime minister since 2018.
The Socialist party leader steered Spain through the Covid pandemic and dealt with an inflation-driven economic downturn made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But his dependency on fringe parties to keep his minority coalition going and his passing of a slew of liberal-minded laws may cost him his job.
The snap election called after the Socialists and their far-left coalition partners took a beating in local and regional elections in May may be an all-or-nothing gamble.
By contrast, Feijóo has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity since he took charge of his party in April last year after an internal feud toppled his predecessor, Pablo Casado.
But Vox has been making inroads, forcing Feijóo to veer more to the right, promising to repeal many of the leftist government’s laws and being more aggressive in his campaign to unseat Sánchez.
Feijóo, 61, has been accused of fudging over whether he will form a coalition with Vox; lying about the Popular Party’s record on pensions and trying to play down ties to a Spanish drug trafficker with whom he was photographed sunbathing on a yacht some years ago.
It means Mr Abascal is now on the cusp of becoming a deputy prime minister of Spain and placing some of his other hardline cohorts in ministerial roles.
However, Yolanda Díaz, who formed the civilian movement Sumar, aims to finish in third place on Sunday so she can help the Socialists form another leftist coalition. Polls place Sumar slightly behind far-right Vox.
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