Vox party leader Santiago Abascal and regional candidate Francisco Serrano celebrate results after the Andalusian regional elections in Seville, Spain December 2018.
Marcelo Del Pozo / REUTERS

Spain’s immunity to the right-wing populist fever sweeping Europe is often touted as a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak European political landscape. “Unlike elsewhere in Europe, the far right in Spain stays on the fringe,” NPR noted in 2017. Recent developments, however, cast doubt on Spain’s capacity to keep populism at bay. In last December’s Andalusian regional elections, Vox, a far-right party and until that point the laughingstock of Spanish politicians, garnered some 400,000 votes, or 10.9 percent of the vote, enough to earn the party twelve seats in the Andalusian parliament. As the international news media reported, this was the first time a far-right party had won at the ballot box in Spain since the return of democracy in 1977. El País, Spain’s paper of record, captured the shock of the nation when it concluded that “the hard right is no longer a ghost that walks

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