A far-right party has won seats in a Spanish regional election for the first time in decades.
The Vox party took 12 parliamentary seats in Andalusia on Sunday, beating expectations that it would win five.
Tough on immigration, Vox could be a kingmaker in a coalition in Andalusia.
Its breakthrough is the latest in a nationalist surge that has swept across Europe. Many had thought Spain was immune because of memories of life under a fascist dictatorship.
France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted (in French): “Strong and warm congratulations to my friends from Vox, who tonight in Spain scored a meaningful result for such a young and dynamic movement.”
The Socialist Party has ruled Andalusia for 36 years. It still won more than any other party – 33 seats – but not enough for a majority even with potential left-wing allies.
The southern region of Andalusia – Spain’s most populous – has high unemployment and is the main arrival point in Spain for migrants crossing the Mediterranean.
In some respects Vox resembles other parties on Europe’s far-right. Its success has been at least partly due to its call for tougher immigration controls. That strategy has worked particularly well in Andalusia, the region that has received the vast majority of the nearly 53,000 migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean to Spain so far this year.
Who are Vox?
Founded in 2014, the party has struggled to make an impact on Spain’s political landscape.
Vox has been derided as far-right and populist, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam but its leader Santiago Abascal believes its recent surge of support is because it is “in step with what millions of Spaniards think”.
The party proposes to “make Spain great again” and critics have described its ideology as a nationalist throwback to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.