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Villagers attend a campaign meeting at a bar in rural Spain. Villagers attend a campaign meeting for the Spanish far-right party Vox at a bar in Brazatortas, on the edge of the Alcudia valley, central Spain, April 10, 2019 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

Spain’s Rural Parties Look to Shake Up the Status Quo

Monday, Jan. 3, 2022

Regional political parties are springing up across rural Spain and banding together under the platform “Emptied Spain,” in an effort to push the big-city elites who dominate Spanish politics to address the challenges facing rural inhabitants. As rural populations have dwindled in recent decades, so have public services in those regions, causing a vicious cycle of depopulation and decline. Inspired by the success of the tiny political party “Teruel Exists,” which has leveraged a single swing vote in parliament to advocate for rural issues, these parties are preparing to run in the next general election to establish a stronger voice for rural regions in parliament. 

Significantly, the parties that make up Emptied Spain identify as neither left nor right. This is a novel approach in Europe, where disenchanted residents of the countryside have largely been seen as easy targets for right-wing populists and their outrage machines.  ...

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