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Far-Right Party Becomes Kingmaker in Spain's Andalusia — a Post-Franco First

FILE - Spain's far-right VOX party leader Santiago Abascal delivers a speech as he celebrates the results of Andalusian regional elections in Seville, Spain, Dec. 2, 2018.

A far-right party on Wednesday took a role in the formation of a regional government in Spain, for the first time since the Franco dictatorship ended in 1975. The far-right, anti-immigrant Vox agreed to support a Conservative/center-right coalition in the southern Andalusia region.

It had become a potential kingmaker in Spain's most populous region — a traditional Socialist Party stronghold — after 12 Vox lawmakers were unexpectedly elected to the regional parliament in December.

"Today illegal immigration and corruption lose [...] and the Andalusians, the defence of the family and a more pluralistic politics win," Vox leader Javier Ortega told reporters after agreeing the deal with the conservative People's Party (PP).

The PP struck a separate coalition accord with the center-right Ciudadanos to form the regional government, ending an unbroken 36-year run of Socialist administrations.

While Vox will not be part of the Andalusia government, bitter memories of military dictatorship had until now prevented far-right parties from making any inroads into the Spanish political mainstream.

After the Andalusia election, the minority Socialist government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had warned the main opposition parties against relying on the support of Vox to take office.

Doing so risked turning the region into a "cradle of the far-right," it said.

The Andalusia deal comes as Spain readies for a busy electoral year, with polls showing that the far right could win further seats in other parts of the country.