Rabat – Both far-right and left-wing political parties in Spain have taken hard foreign policy stances with Morocco as Spain’s general election at the end of the month draws nearer.
Most recently, Podemos, a left-wing political party whose name translates to “We Can,” has promised to recognize the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) if elected.The party is also calling for the Spanish government to establish diplomatic ties with so-called SADR in the hopes of allowing Saharawi residents into Spain in the future.
In tandem with the other two foreign policy goals, Podemos’s electoral platform is also urging the extension of the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
The party has been pro-Polisario since its founding in 2014.
However, in the last general election the party’s support for Polisario fell by the wayside. In 2016, the term “Western Sahara” did not appear once in the party’s 95-page electoral platform document.
While Podemos has reaffirmed its support for Polisario during this election season, Jorge Verstrynge Rojas, one of the party’s political advisors, has recently said otherwise.
During the 2019 Crans Montana Forum, Rojas said, “Western Sahara is and has always been part of Morocco.” Later, he explained that many in left-wing Spanish parties “are still not ready to come to terms with the fact that the territories are Morocco’s.”
Rojas joined Podemos in 2014 as a political adviser and despite his support for the party he suggested that he values historical facts more than “ideological consistency” and “revolutionary fervor.”
“Although I feel very close to Podemos, I am obliged to say things as they are,” Rojas said.
Foreign policy of the right
Political parties on the other side of aisle have also taken tough stances on Moroccan foreign policy.
Last month, Santiago Abascal, the leader of Spain’s right-wing party Vox, requested Morocco pay for the new border walls he plans to build around Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish enclaves in Morocco’s territory.
In a book published last month titled “Santiago Abascal: Espana’s Vertebrada,” (Santiago Abascal: Spain’s Backbone), Abascal made his intentions to build a new wall around the two enclaves clear. He accused Morocco of not doing enough to stop the waves of irregular migrants that have crossed the border into Spain.
According to the book, Abascal believes “the great wall that we should be building is a psychological one and consists of informing immigrants that those who enter illegally in Europe will never be able to regularize their situation.”
Along with 10 other political parties, Podemos and Vox will be vying for seats during this year’s general election which will determine Spain’s 13th government.
On the ballot during this upcoming election are all 350 seats of Congress and 208 of the 266 seats in the Senate. Parties will be competing for the majority on voting day, Sunday, April 28.