Spain’s far-right Vox party has been banned from a televised debate leading up to the general election on Sunday week. The Tuesday debate is the only one scheduled before the election.
The anti-immigration party was banned from the debate following a ruling by the electoral commission. That’s not very democratic. The commission argued that Vox’s inclusion was not "proportional" because the party currently holds no seats in the national parliament. "Atresmedia maintains that a debate between five candidates is of the greatest journalistic value and most relevance for voters," the Spanish television network said in a statement following the ruling.
Spanish MEP Ana Miranda said the ban was important to uphold democratic integrity in Spain. "We need to protect democracy," Miranda said. "This party is calling for xenophobia. So for me, it is fair that they don’t participate."
Fine, you may not like what the party stands for but it is an officially recognised political party, just like all of the others and is heading into the elections with substantial support across the country. Vox played a key part in the right forming a coalition government in Andalusia and has become the kingmaker for right-wing political parties in Spain. The Partido Popular is in decline, Ciudadanos have lost a bit of direction but Vox is firing on all cylinders. Plus, banning political parties is reverse psychology; it gives them even more publicity.