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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

  Thousands in Spain attend rally of fledgling far-right party

VOX is hoping that its vehement stance against immigration and the separatists in Catalonia will allow it to break out of obscurity and into public office.

People wave Spanish flags during a rally of the fledging far-right party VOX in Madrid, Spain. AP 
People wave Spanish flags during a rally of the fledging far-right party VOX in Madrid, Spain. AP 

Thousands of Spaniards attended a rally Sunday of the fledging far-right VOX party as it tries to grab a foothold in Spain's political spectrum.

Javier Ortega, the party's general secretary, told the crowd at Madrid's Vistalegre sports hall that VOX has "one clear objective: Spaniards first." Ortega also railed against abortion and what he called "the dictatorship of the politically correct."

Ortega and party President Santiago Abascal led the rally, which demanded that Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez call an early election. Many in the audience waved Spanish flags and joined in chants of "A united Spain is never defeated!"

VOX has no lawmakers currently in the national parliament. Founded in 2013, VOX is hoping that its vehement stance against immigration and the separatists in Catalonia will allow it to break out of obscurity and into public office. It claims to have 10,000 members.

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Yet a poll by Spain's statistics office indicates that only 1 percent of voters would cast ballots for VOX if elections were held now.

Unlike other European countries, Spain has not seen the eruption of extreme-right parties despite its past economic troubles.

The conservative Popular Party has dominated the center-right of Spanish politics in recent decades until ceding ground to the new center-right Citizens party.

Sanchez leads a minority government but says he won't call an election anytime soon.