Santiago Abascal

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Santiago Abascal
Abascal in 2023
President of Vox
Assumed office
20 September 2014
Vice PresidentJorge Buxadé
Preceded byJosé Luis González Quirós
Member of the Congress of Deputies
Assumed office
21 May 2019
ConstituencyMadrid
Director of the Data Protection Agency of the Community of Madrid
In office
4 February 2010 – 28 December 2012
PresidentEsperanza Aguirre
Preceded byAntonio Troncoso
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the Basque Parliament
In office
4 October 2005 – 6 January 2009
ConstituencyÁlava
In office
16 January 2004 – 22 February 2005
ConstituencyÁlava
Member of the General Assembly of Álava
In office
13 June 2003 – 3 February 2005
ConstituencyVitoria
Member of the City Council of Llodio
In office
13 June 1999 – 16 June 2007
Personal details
Born
Santiago Abascal Conde

(1976-04-14) 14 April 1976 (age 47)
Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
Political partyVox (since 2014)
Other political
affiliations
People's Party (1994–2013)
Spouse(s)
Ana Belén Sánchez Cenador
(m. 2002; div. 2010)

Lidia Bedman
(m. 2018)
Children4
Parent
Alma materUniversity of Deusto
Signature

Santiago Abascal Conde (Spanish pronunciation: [sanˈtjaɣo aβasˈkal ˈkonde]; born 14 April 1976) is a Spanish politician and since September 2014 the leader of the right-wing political party Vox. Abascal is a member of the Congress of Deputies representing Madrid since 2019. Before the creation of Vox, Abascal was long a member of the People's Party, served as legislator in the Basque Parliament, founded the Spanish nationalist Foundation for the Defense of the Spanish Nation (Spanish: Fundación para la Defensa de la Nación Española, or DENAES) and exerted the role of director of publicly funded entities of the Community of Madrid.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Abascal was born in Bilbao. He descends from a line of prominent politicians in the Province of Álava: his father Santiago Abascal Escuza was a politician and a member of the People's Party, and his grandfather Manuel Abascal Pardo was the mayor of Amurrio from 1963 to 1979, during the dictatorship of Franco and Spanish transition to democracy.[1][2][3][4] Because of their political work, Abascal's family was routinely threatened by the terrorist group ETA.[5]

Political career[edit]

Abascal giving a speech in 2018 in Vistalegre

Abascal became a member of the People's Party when he was 18, in 1994.[6][7] He was city councillor of Llodio for two terms (1999–2007).[8] He served in the Basque Parliament from January 2004 to February 2005 representing Álava.[9] He later served again in the regional legislature from October 2005 to January 2009.[10]

After he left Basque politics, Esperanza Aguirre, the regional president of the Community of Madrid, hired him for the post of director of the Data Protection Agency of the Community of Madrid (2010–2012). Abascal was later appointed to another post as Director of the Foundation for Patronage and Social Sponsorship (2013),[6] a publicly funded entity without known activity during Abascal's spell.[11][12]

Abascal left the PP in 2013[7] and helped to found a new party, Vox, which was formed on the same day that the Foundation for Patronage and Social Sponsorship dissolved.[11][13] After Vox's bad result in the May 2014 European Parliament election in which it failed to obtain any seats, inner strife followed between a faction represented by party members such as Ignacio Camuñas, José Luis González Quirós and Alejo Vidal-Quadras, and a hardline faction, featuring Abascal along with other figures of the DENAES Foundation.[14] The moderate faction became estranged from the party,[14] and Abascal became the new president on 20 September 2014.[15]

Abascal is a member of the Congreso de los Diputados representing Madrid since May 2019. His party came third in the election for the 14th Congreso, characterized by the BBC as a "far-right surge".[16]

During 2020 and 2021 electoral campaigns for regional elections in Basque Country and Catalonia, multiple electoral events featuring Abascal as one of speakers were attacked by radical political opponents on the premises of "Vox's legal electoral events in these provinces being acts of provocation".[17][18][19]

Political positions[edit]

Abascal's political programme for 2018 includes the expulsion of all illegal immigrants, the construction of "impassable walls" in the Spanish African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, the prohibition of the teaching of Islam, the exaltation of "national heroes", the elimination of all regional parliaments and opposition to Catalan nationalism.[20] He used anti-Muslim rhetoric in 2019 and called for a new Reconquista or reconquest of Spain.[21]

He has also expressed disappointment towards Morocco and how it handles the border by allowing illegal immigrants to cross. This has led to conversations about the status of Spanish Sahara. Abascal has expressed a different way to handle it (unlike the other parties that favor abandoning it to Morocco); that the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic have the right to self determination, with the hopeful outcome of choosing to remain and integrate as the Spanish Sahara.

Abascal promotes climate change denial and believes that global warming is the "greatest swindle in history".[22] He is opposed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals referred to as Agenda 2030.[23]

On economic issues, he claims the legacy of 1996–2004 Prime Minister José Maria Aznar of the People's Party, and supports an economic liberal and fiscal conservative line, including a sharp reduction in public spending.[24]

Personal life[edit]

He first married Ana Belén Sánchez, who was herself a PP candidate in local elections in Llodio and Zuia; they had two children. They subsequently divorced.[25] In June 2018, he married the Spanish blogger and influencer Lidia Bedman-Lapeña.[26] He had two children with Bedman.[27][25] Abascal is a longtime member of the Spanish Ornithological Society.[28] Abascal is an affiliate of the ultraconservative association HazteOir (HO) and was the recipient of a HO Award in 2012.[29]

Due to recurrent death threats for his political views and work, Abascal is licensed to carry and use a handgun for self-defence.[30] Namely, the license type B, granted to civilians proved to experience a real and high risk of being attacked. Under strict Spanish gun laws, such licenses are rare, as only about 0.02% of population hold them.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Abascal, el 'ex' del PP que lleva la extrema derecha a la política nacional". Eitb (in Spanish). 3 December 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Muere Santiago Abascal, exdirigente del PP vasco y padre del líder de VOX". Efe.com (in Spanish). Vitoria. 23 July 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  3. ^ Los Genoveses (27 April 2019). "Santiago Abascal: un ultra con sueldo y pistola". El Plural (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Santiago Abascal: su pasado, su familia, sus dos mujeres y sus aficiones". Voz Populi. 11 November 2019.
  5. ^ Veiga, Diego Rodriguez (9 November 2020). "Abascal revive sus dos dramas con ETA: el ataque familiar y el asesinato de su amigo cartero". El Español.
  6. ^ a b Gutiérrez, Óscar (5 December 2018). "¿Quién es Santiago Abascal, líder del partido Vox?". 20minutos.
  7. ^ a b Amón, Rubén (3 December 2018). "Santiago Abascal, el fan de Marine Le Pen". El País.
  8. ^ "Santiago Abascal: del PP vasco a sacudir la política española en Andalucía". La Vanguardia. 3 December 2018.
  9. ^ García Martín, Javier (28 April 2019). "La post-España de Santiago Abascal". 20 Minutos (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Santiago Abascal Conde" (PDF). Voxespana.es (in Spanish). 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  11. ^ a b Pérez Mendoza, Sofía (13 January 2019). "La fundación que dirigió Abascal se extinguió sin dejar rastro de su último año de actividad". eldiario.es.
  12. ^ Guzmán, Cecilia (6 November 2013). "Santiago Abascal se 'forra' al amparo del PP madrileño". El Plural.
  13. ^ Maestre, Antonio (9 December 2018). "Manual de VOX para antifascistas emocionales". La Marea.
  14. ^ a b Sangiao, Sergio (23 January 2019). "Los tránsfugas de Abascal". CTXT.
  15. ^ "Santiago Abascal, nuevo presidente de Vox con el 91% de los votos". Publico.es. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Spanish elections: Socialists win amid far-right surge". BBC News. London, U.K. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  17. ^ "Vox arranca la campaña en Euskadi con mítines blindados entre piedras y botellas". 26 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Lanzan piedras a Abascal en un acto de Vox en Girona". 30 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Intento de agresión a Abascal en un acto electoral en Gerona". 30 January 2021.
  20. ^ de Laguérie, Henry (14 November 2019). "Santiago Abascal, l'homme derrière le retour de l'extrême droite en Espagne". Le Parisien (in French). Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  21. ^ Walker, Kira (29 April 2019). "Spain's far-right makes election gains using anti-Muslim sentiment". The National.
  22. ^ Chapelle, Sophie (22 October 2020). "Déni du réchauffement, mépris pour les renouvelables, haine des réfugiés climatiques : le "fascisme fossile"". bastamag.net (in French). Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  23. ^ Abascal, Santiago (19 April 2023). "Santiago Abascal denuncia la sumisión de Pedro Sánchez ante Marruecos: "¿Por qué razón lo hace?"". VOX España. YouTube.
  24. ^ "Santiago Abascal, l'homme au pistolet qui a ressuscité l'extrême droite espagnole". Le Point (in French). 28 April 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Así es la primera mujer de Santiago Abascal: la expolítica con la que compartió partido y desahucio". El Plural (in Spanish). 25 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  26. ^ Villar, C. (9 October 2018). "La boda cool de Santiago Abascal (VOX) con la bloguera Lidia Bedman Lapeña este verano". El Confidencial (in Spanish). Titania Compañía Editorial, S.L. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Así es Lidia Bedman, la pareja 'egoblogger' de Santiago Abascal, líder de VOX". La Vanguardia. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Abascal: un aficionado a los pájaros casado con una 'influencer'". Cadena COPE (in Spanish). Radio Popular S.A. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  29. ^ Bastante, Jesús (7 December 2018). "Las conexiones de Vox con HazteOir, los 'kikos' y una docena de obispos españoles". eldiario.es (in Spanish).
  30. ^ "El permiso tipo B que tiene Abascal: ¿qué armas permite llevar, qué requisitos tiene y cómo se concede?". 20 Minutos. 18 June 2020.
  31. ^ Verdu, Daniel (25 October 2016). "Who are Spain's gun owners?". El Pais.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Director of the Data Protection Agency
of the Community of Madrid

2010–2012
Office abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by President of Vox
2014–present
Incumbent