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Running on Green New Deal, Socialists Prevail in Spain’s Snap Elections

While the rise of the far-right, xenophobic Vox Party sparked alarm, it performed well below expectations.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez kisses his wife Maria Begona Gomez as his supporters wave flags in the air outside of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party headquarters on April 28, 2019, in Madrid, Spain.

The Socialist Workers’ Party emerged victorious in Spain’s snap election on Sunday after running on a platform that included a Green New Deal to combat the climate crisis, a minimum wage increase, and higher taxes on the rich.

With more than 99 percent of the votes counted, the Socialist Party, or PSOE, won 123 of the 350 seats in Parliament. While not enough for an outright majority, the PSOE is now in a position to form a broad left-leaning coalition that would include the anti-austerity Podemos Party.

Speaking to supporters in Madrid following Sunday’s election — which also saw the far-right Vox Party enter Parliament — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the PSOE’s win sends “a message to the world that it’s possible to win against regression and authoritarianism.”

“With that the future has won and the past has lost,” said Sánchez at a victory rally.

As The Intercept’s Kate Aronoff reported ahead of Sunday’s election, “Sánchez came out in support of the U.S. Green New Deal — sometimes translated as ‘El New Deal Verde’ or ‘El Green New Deal de España’ — in January and has campaigned on it throughout the election.”

“As outlined in the party’s recently released 110-point manifesto,” Aronoff wrote, “the overall goal of Spain’s Green New Deal is an economy-wide mobilization involving participation from local communities, civil society, unions, and businesses, with an industrial policy that treats decarbonization as an engine of job creation.”

Teresa Ribera, Spain’s minister for ecological transition, told Aronoff that the Green New Deal “accepts that we are in an emergency moment where we need to transform.”

“We cannot get as big a transformation as we need without [a] big dose of just transition and solidarity policies,” Ribera said. “Otherwise there will be many people who are left behind.”

While PSOE strengthened its position in the Spanish government, the rise of the xenophobic, anti-feminist Vox Party sparked alarm in the run-up to country’s snap election.

As the New York Times reported, Vox — which won 24 seats in Parliament — “promised not only to quash the secessionist challenge in Catalonia but also to recentralize Spain by removing the powers of its regional governments.”

But while acknowledging Vox’s surge is certainly cause for serious concern, Washington Post reporter James McAuley noted that the far-right party performed well below expectations.

“Vox was supposed to do much better than it did. Its entry into Parliament is clearly huge but really not the story tonight,” McAuley tweeted.

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