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Spain's far-right threatens to dissolve regional governments over migration issue

Anadolu Agency EUROPE
Published July 11,2024

Spain's far-right party Vox threatened on Thursday to dissolve its regional coalition governments with the Popular Party over a dispute concerning the redistribution of young migrants who recently arrived in the Canary Islands.

On Wednesday evening, the Popular Party announced its intention to accommodate nearly 400 unaccompanied minors currently housed in overcrowded shelters on the Spanish islands within the regions it governs.

The Canary Islands urgently need to relocate at least 3,000 of the 6,000 young migrants they are currently hosting, which would still leave their facilities operating at 150% capacity, as reported by El Pais.

Despite this relatively modest number, Vox accused the Popular Party of "blowing up" coalition agreements and capitulating to appease Spain's progressive Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez.

"Vox, on the other hand, remains committed to its promises to the Spanish people. Vox will not condone rapes, robberies, and machete attacks," the party declared in a late-night statement on Wednesday, referring to hosting responsibilities for the young migrants.

The Popular Party relies on Vox's support to govern in six regions—Aragon, Castile and Leon, Valencia, Extremadura, Murcia, and the Balearic Islands. Under the proposal, these regions would only accommodate a total of 110 migrants under the age of 18.

The People's Party secretary-general criticized Vox's actions on Thursday, calling them "irresponsible," especially given the relatively low number of migrants involved.

"I find it totally disproportionate, more like an excuse or a form of blackmail," Cuca Gamarra stated in an interview with broadcaster Antena 3.

The second-in-command at the Popular Party emphasized that the core issue lies in the Spanish government's failure to prevent migrant arrivals initially and advocated for "solidarity" among Spain's regions.

On Thursday, Vox canceled official events in regions where it governs alongside the Popular Party and convened an emergency meeting to decide on "next steps" for later in the evening.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for Spain's ruling Socialist Party expressed satisfaction with the potential rift between the country's two leading right-wing factions.

Speaking to Antena 3, spokesperson Patxi Lopez expressed hope that Spain would follow in France's footsteps, where parties united to form a 'sanitary cordon' to keep the far-right out of government.

The Spanish government is currently working on a migration law reform that would legally mandate other regions to share the responsibility of accommodating young migrants when one part of the country is overwhelmed.

However, with the Catalan separatist party Junts opposing the measure, efforts are underway to persuade the Popular Party to support the reform.

Following a crucial meeting on Wednesday night, the Popular Party indicated it would need more time to make a decision on how it would vote.