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Spain: Racism in political campaigns

On Sunday 24th of May 2015, there were municipal elections throughout Spain. While third country nationals are not able to stand for election, and only those from countries with a bilateral agreement can vote, immigration was nonetheless an issue in these elections.

Racist and discriminatory political speeches have not been as prevalent in Spain as in other EU countries (e.g. France or UK). However, in Catalonia there have been many racist political campaigns denounced by both the press and other political parties or civil society:

The Mayor of Badalona, Xavier Albiol (from the Popular Party, PP, which is the governing party at the national level), who had already been taken to court for distributing racist propaganda in the 2011 municipal elections (but who was not condemned), was again accused of racism with his slogan “cleaning Badalona”. ICV has stated that it is considering denouncing this campaign at the national and European level.

In L’hospitalet de Llobregat, the PP wants to replicate the "Albiol method": limit access to welfare benefits, control the “pisos patera” (overcrowded apartments), and control kebab stores, bazars and internet cafes (typically owned by immigrants). 

The PP of Sant Adria has taken this hate speech to a different level, clearly linking newcomers with antisocial behavior, noise, drugs and alcohol, and promising to remove them from the neighborhood.

In Barcelona and Girona, the PP denounced the ghettoization of these cities and linked immigration with Islam, and the radicalization of immigrants. Furthermore, the PP candidate for Barcelona promised he would forbid the burka (despite Spanish justice having declared this illegal).

For instance outside of Catalonia, in Seville, a party called “PXL de San Juan” promised to put those from “home” before foreigners, to establish "strict immigration control" and "remove all funding for international development and cooperation and for the promotion of multiculturalism".

However, in general, such blatant racist and xenophobic speeches have not been the norm in these municipal elections.