Sexual violence strikes Spanish politics again, as former far-right Vox MP, Carlos Fernández-Roca Suárez, is investigated for a sexual offence. On 13th November 2020 Fernández-Roca announced his resignation from Spain’s Parliament using a now-deleted Twitter account, following the accusation: ‘On Wednesday, after learning of the complaint made against me, I immediately and voluntarily made myself available to the police. Although I am innocent, I renounced my seat in Parliament on Thursday morning.’ Fernández-Roca also resigned from his posts as Vox spokesperson on the National Security Committee and on the Foreign Affairs and European Union Committee.
According to the complaint lodged by a young woman in her early twenties, the assault took place on the night of Saturday 7th November. According to InfoLibre, sources close to the investigation have revealed that the alleged victim was a Professor of Religion, who held personal ties to Vox at the time of the alleged crime, and had met Fernández-Roca on several prior occasions. He is alleged to have taken advantage of her inebriated state and had sex with her whilst she was unable to consent.
Upon announcing his resignation, Fernández-Roca was met with much support from those within his party. Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, who is second only in the party to leader Santiago Abascal, commended Fernández-Roca’s ‘exemplary reaction’ to the accusation and wished him ‘much courage’. That the ex-MP can still count on the support of Vox is not surprising, given the far-right party’s track record on issues of gender violence. Vox has expressed vehement opposition to the so-called ‘only yes means yes’ proposed change to Spain’s controversial rape laws, which was passed by government in March 2020. Fernández-Roca is not the first sitting member of Parliament for Vox who has had to resign over accusations of sexual violence. In February 2020, Juan Ros Alcaide, the Vox Senator for Ceuta, resigned from his position after facing allegations of domestic violence against his wife.
Other members of Spanish Parliament did not hesitate in expressing their condemnation of the alleged sexual assault. The spokesperson for the Socialist Party, Adriana Lastra, tweeted on the 16th December: ‘His name is Carlos Fernández-Roca, MP for VOX. He resigned without explanation. He is accused of sexually assaulting a girl who was left bleeding. It is shameful and painful that someone like that has had a seat in Congress.’