SEVILLE, Spain (ChurchMilitant.com) - A right-wing party has won local elections in southern Spain in a surprising blow to the country's leftist regime.
The political party Vox, widely reported as being "far-right," won 12 seats in the Andalusian parliament this weekend in an upset for Spain's leading Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). These results from the regional election came as a surprise, as Andalusia has long been a bastion for the socialists.
The right-wing populist party is apparently pro-life, as its platform features what has been called a "hardline" stance against abortion.
It is known also for its strong opposition to illegal immigration at a time when massive numbers of migrants are flooding into Europe from Africa and the Middle East.
In campaigning, Vox has used the slogan "Make Spain Great Again," a nod to U.S. President Donald Trump.
"Despite winning the election it is a sad night for the Socialist Party," said Andalusia's regional leader, Susana Diaz, a Socialist. "There has been a real loss of ground for the Left."
Andalusia's parliament has 106 seats. Vox went from zero seats to 12 seats this election. Left-wing coalition Adelante Andalucía went from 20 to 17 seats, while PSOE went from 47 seats to 33 — a loss of 14. The conservative Popular Party, the main opposition party in Spain, also lost seats, falling from 33 to 26. But the center-right Citizens Party gained 12 seats, rising from nine to 21.
These numbers mean that the far-left parties have no chance of a combined majority, while the center-right parties can only obtain a combined majority if they work with Vox.
Spain's current prime minister, Pedro Sanchez of the PSOE, is an atheist and is part of a leftist coalition in Spain that has sought to restrict Catholicism's influence on public life.
Andalusia in southern Spain is country's most populous region and faces a high unemployment rate. Due to its geographical location, it is also a common entry point into Europe for migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
Echoing Spain's history, Vox candidate Francisco Serrano told supporters at a rally, "We are the ones who will bring about change, progress and the reconquest."
Those attending the rally chanted, "Spain! Spain! Spain!"
Serrano also said, "Now is the moment to say loud and clear who we are and that we have come to stay."
The Reconquest of Spain, known as the Reconquista, was a centuries-long series of conflicts, spanning about 770 years, in which Christian leaders sought to recapture the Iberian peninsula from the Moors.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal said of the results, "The Andalusians have made history … and got rid of 36 years of socialist rule."
Spain's Socialist prime minister responded to the Andalusian local election results in a tweet, saying, "My government will carry on with its pro-European renovation project for Spain. The results in Andalusia strengthen our commitment to defending democracy and the constitution in the face of fear."
Some Spanish Twitter users replied to the tweet in agreement, while others said the results in Andalusia were a sign of dissatisfaction with Sanchez's administration.