Barcelona (Brussels Morning) Last week, the European Parliament (EP) cast a vote to make gender-based violence a crime across the EU. Vox, Spain’s rapidly strengthening far-right party, voted no.
The resolution is an initiative to make gender-based violence a cross-border crime. In the EP vote, 427 voted in favour, 119 against and 140 abstained. Spain’s conservatives and far-right were amongst the minority who did not support the law.
Vox voted against acknowledging gender-based violence as a rising problem in Europe, in the keeping with its traditional ‘‘violence is violence’’ party mandate. Whilst the conservatives, Partido Popular (PP)— likely to be the main contenders against the socialist coalition in next year’s general election—mostly abstained, although one key member did vote against.– Isabel Benjumea.
Benjumea is considered to be the poster child for aristocratic Spain. She is the granddaughter of Rafael Benjumea Burín—a high nobleman who served both Spanish dictators, Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco. Benjumea, the prodigy of former conservative prime minister José María Aznar, is seen today as the right-hand of PP leader Pablo Casado.
On Thursday, Podemos, one side of the ruling leftist coalition, termed the Vox/PP opposition to the EP resolution as “fundamentalism against women.”
Vox refrained from commenting on the newly passed ‘’Eurocrime’’ but on Friday publicly condemned a law approved in the Canary Islands which supports the rights of transsexuals. The far-right party said they oppose the “totalitarian roll of gender ideology.”
Traditionally, Casado and his PP have tried to distance themselves from their more radical counterparts on the topic of gender-based violence. They are wary not to appear too extreme in a country where feminism and women’s rights are gaining popular momentum.
In February, a group of political parties read out the names of more than a thousand female victims of gender-based violence to Congress, in response to Vox’s attempt to process a bill that denied such crimes were sexist. PSOE, Unidas Podem, ERC, JxCat, PDeCAT, CUP, PNB, EH Bildu, Més País, BNG and Compromís banded together to read out the names of victim, a grim litany that ended with a standing ovation within the chamber. Although PP did not participate in the initiative, its party-members did join in the ensuing minutes-long applause.
But while the conservatives have tried to separate themselves from Vox on the issue of gender-violence, the symbolic vote in the European Parliament by Isabel Benjumea and the decision by the rest of the party to abstain, points towards similarities.
In Spain last year, the courtsw received 150,785 complaints by women related to gender-based violence. Moreover, there has been a surge in the number of women murdered by their male partners in Spain this year, with 12 deaths in the month of May alone.