1st Edition

VOX The Rise of the Spanish Populist Radical Right

    174 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    174 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines VOX, the first major and electorally successful populist radical right-wing party to emerge in Spain since the death of General Franco, and the restoration of parliamentary democracy in the late 1970s.

    In December 2018, VOX, a new party on the populist radical right, entered the Andalusian regional parliament, and played the role of kingmaker in the ensuing government formation discussions. Since then, under the leadership of Santiago Abascal, VOX has earned political representation in numerous local, regional and national elections. The party attracted more than 3.6 million votes in the November 2019 general election, making VOX the third largest party in the Spanish Congress. In two years, the party has become a key political challenger and an important player in Spanish politics. This book explains the origins of the party, its ideology and relationship with democracy, its appeal with voters, and its similarities with (and differences from) other populist radical right parties in Europe. It draws upon a rich source of domestic as well as cross-national survey data and a systematic analysis of party manifestos which provide a detailed account of the rise of VOX and what its emergence means for Spanish politics.

    This volume will be of interest to scholars of comparative politics, political parties, voters and elections, Spanish politics, the populist radical right and populism in general.


    Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

    1. Introduction: From Pariah to the Institutions

    2. Genesis and Expansion of VOX: From a People's Party Split to the Third Largest Party in Spain

    3. A Question of Supply: What does VOX Want? A Party Manifesto Analysis in Comparative Perspective

    4. A Question of Demand: Who Votes for VOX?

    5. VOX and Support for Democracy: Legacies from an Authoritarian Past

    6. Conclusions


    José Rama is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science & International Relations at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Spain. He holds a PhD in Political Science at UAM. He has published in a number of leading journals including, amongst others, Journal of Democracy, Government and Opposition, and European Political Science Review.

    Lisa Zanotti is an Associate Researcher at Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Sociales – Universidad Diego Portales (UDP), Chile. She holds a joint PhD in Political Science from Diego Portales University and in Humanities from Leiden University, the Netherlands. She has recently published in Political Studies Review, and Comparative European Politics.

    Stuart J. Turnbull-Dugarte is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southampton, UK. He holds a PhD in Political Science from King’s College London, UK. He has published in a number of leading journals including, amongst others, the European Journal of Political Research, Journal of European Public Policy, West European Politics and Electoral Studies.

    Andrés Santana is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. He researches in voting behaviour (populist parties, turnout and the decision to vote), women's political representation, and research methodology. He has recently published in the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Social Politics, Politics & Gender, and East European Politics.

    "Teachers of comparative politics, students of democratic processes, and researchers on extremist parties will find in this book a small, precious treasure of data, analysis, and comprehension. Through the case of VOX, its authors, a bright team of young scholars, offer a rigorous examination of Spanish democracy and an invaluable contribution to the literature on populist radical right parties." — José Ramón Montero, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

    "With its comprehensive coverage of VOX’s origin, growth, organization, manifestos and voters, this book is a much-needed contribution to our understanding of the rise of the radical right. A must-read also for those interested in parties and party system change, vote choice, Spanish and European politics." — Eva Anduiza, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

    "The first systematic analysis of the Spanish VOX in the English language. The authors offer a comprehensive account of the party’s origins, ideology, organizational structure and social base. This book is a valuable resource for scholars and students of the radical right in Spain and beyond." — Daphne Halikiopoulou, University of Reading, UK

    "This very timely book offers intriguing analyses of VOX’s origins, positions and voters. It provides keen insights into the radical right party, helping readers understand why Spain is no longer an outlier in Europe. It is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary Spanish and European politics." — Bonnie N. Field, Bentley University, USA

    "In 2019 Spain was the next country to elect a populist radical right party to parliament. Where many others had failed, VOX and Santiago Abascal succeeded. This first comprehensive study of the Spanish populist radical right upstart explains how it has become so successful and how it has been able to impact Spanish politics within years of its founding. Sober and solid, this is essential reading for scholars of both Spanish politics and of the far right." — Cas Mudde, University of Georgia, USA, and Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX), University of Oslo, Norway