The Washington PostThe Washington Post

A far-right European Union could be around the corner

By Ishaan Tharoor

21 Jul 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. Spain is facing a snap election that could see the far-right return to power for the first time since Francisco Franco's dictatorship. The right-wing People's Party (PP) is leading in opinion polls, but may need support from the ultranationalist Vox party to form the next government.

Five years ago, Spain's foreign minister explained why his country had so far resisted the siren song of right-wing populism. "We have been vaccinated by the [Spanish] civil war and by the long years of [Francisco] Franco's dictatorship," Josep Borrell told me in an interview in Washington, arguing that Spain's turbulent experience of anti-democratic, fascist rule inoculated it from the "virus" of ascendant nativism and illiberalism seen in some of its European neighbors.

Half a decade later, Borrell, now the European Union's top diplomat, may be wondering whether the continent - and, in particular, his nation - is in need of a booster dose.

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