Ciudadanos has always been a far-right party

Most authoritarian governments also espouse social-democratic policies

Whoever wished to believe the confused and contradictory ways in which Ciudadanos have chosen to define themselves ideologically throughout their twelve years of existence (liberal centre-left, progressive liberal, transformative centre-right, centre-centre regenerationist, or the most incisive, "neither right nor left: Spanish"), they were well within their rights to do so. However, one must assume that now, following their pact with the PP and Vox[1] in forming a government in Andalusia, the time has come to end this drawn out, ideological fancy-dress parade. From the day the party made its first public appearance at the Palau de la Música on September 16, 2006, with a poster featuring a largely-unknown Albert Rivera, naked with his hands covering his genitals, Ciudadanos has been a far-right party. It hasn’t ceased to be one for a single day. The same can be said of the PP, which from its beginnings as AP [Alianza Popular] has been home to various strands on the Spanish right, including the most extreme. It was supposed to be a way of keeping them contained, but for some time now (since the Aznar government) the hardest and most extreme right calls the shots within the party.

Someone might object to the fact that the PP, and more so Ciudadanos’, electoral programs and congressional documents contain social measures which are in line with social democracy. They also form part of the program they have agreed in Andalusia. However, we must not forget that most authoritarian governments, and even totalitarian ones, include measures of this nature. Franco provided financial assistance for the elderly and for families, as well as bonuses, council houses, farmers mutual societies and a range of collective measures. The various declarations by the far-right feature restrictions on and the persecution of fundamental freedoms. However, such a position does not rule out a certain state architecture which guarantees the protection of other rights, as long as they are properly supervised by those who are in power. This is in keeping with the "Keep your nose out of trouble and we'll leave you alone" approach.

What really identifies the far-right for what it is, is the practice and promotion of hatred. The main difference between the PP and Ciudadanos on the one hand, and Vox on the other, are the recipients of this hatred. The two "constitutionalist" parties have always espoused the most primal form of anti-Catalanism (in the case of Ciudadanos, it was the reason the party came into existence in the first place), which in recent years, from the bitter debate over the Statute and its subsequent consolidation by the Constitutional Court, has become increasingly extreme. It is a form of hate-speech one could call homegrown, for Spanish consumption. Vox also practices it, but it also adds the characteristic hatreds of European right-wing extremists: immigrants, women and homosexuals. Ciudadanos doesn’t feel entirely comfortable with these add-ons, but it still signed up for a pact of hatred in Andalusia, with the aim of repeating the formula throughout Spain. It is worth remembering that it was the most voted party in the most recent Catalan elections.

[1] Translator’s Note:  Vox is a  far-right party aligned with European right-wing populism

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