Fernando Paz is at the top of the party ticket for Albacete in Spain’s Castilla-La Mancha region, which gives him a chance at a seat in the lower house. Vox first gained parliamentary representation in December, when it won 12 seats in the Andalusian regional government. The party is now hoping to replicate this success elsewhere in Spain, which is also holding local, regional and European elections on May 26.
According to Paz, most Jewish people were murdered by local populations in Eastern Europe
Paz has written a book questioning the legitimacy and impartiality of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II. At a talk in 2016 at the headquarters of the fascist party Falange, Paz said that the trials occasionally had “the air of a farce.”
Regarding the Holocaust, he has said that “although it is undeniable that there were organized killings of Jews […] what really happened is far from having been established with precision.” According to him, most Jewish people were murdered by local populations in Eastern Europe, although some were also killed “by German troops for military and ideological reasons.”
In his opinion, “the identification of Jews with Communists was a simplification, but there was a substantial element of truth in it.” Despite the evidence of the gas chambers, Paz holds that most Jews were killed by gunfire.
In 2013, Paz was involved in a televised debate with Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the leftist Podemos party, during which he claimed that the 1937 bombing of Gernika, in the Basque region, was “a myth crafted in England by The Times to justify the British rearmament program.”
That same year, Paz expressed his views on homosexuality on a television program called El gato al agua : “If my son told me he was gay, I would try to help him. There are therapies to treat this psychology,” he said. And after Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, Paz tweeted: “Even Ireland approves gay marriage. With the firmness of a sleepwalker, the West is hurling itself into the abyss.”
Vox has also confirmed that an anti-abortion campaigner named Lourdes Méndez will head its party list for Murcia.
Méndez presides an association called Family and Human Dignity, and she is part of One of Us, an international ultra-Catholic umbrella group. In November, she joined Vox leader Santiago Abascal at a party rally in Murcia where she said that Vox “is the only party with a clear narrative against gender-based ideology and in favor of families based on natural marriage.”
Méndez served as a member of the regional government of Murcia between 2002 and 2004, and she was a deputy for the Popular Party (PP) between 2004 and 2016. Vox has also attracted another former PP member to its ranks: Ignacio Gil Lázaro, a historical PP figure in the Valencia region, will run with Vox at the national election.
The defections illustrate how the PP and Vox are competing for right-of-center votes. Both parties are making use of the popular smartphone application WhatsApp to spread their message, which in the PP’s case involves convincing sympathizers that a vote for Vox is wasted because of Spain’s proportional representation voting system.
English version by Susana Urra.