Spain: a Muslim political party revs its motor for elections

MADRID, MARCH 16 – The first Muslim-oriented political party in Spain, the Partido Renacimiento y Union de Espana (PRUNE), aims to show up on ballots at the upcoming early elections in Andalusia, March 22, as well as at municipal and regional elections on May 24.

PRUNE has already tried to present itself at prior elections, but failed to formalize its candidacy. It is seeking to obtain the support of roughly 1.7 million Muslims estimated to currently reside on Spanish territory, although its leaders assure that the party “is aimed at all minorities, both ethnic and religious”, and not just at Muslims.

One of the party’s promoters, Manuel Bugeiro — a Spaniard who converted to Islam — said, “Our objective is to carry the voice of our people as high as possible, whether they are gypsies, foreigners, Muslims or Jews”.

“We fight against racism, discrimination and Islamophobia,” Bugeiro continued. From the headquarters in Asturias, PRUNE has opened branches with the goal of further growth in Madrid, Valencia, Toledo, Cadiz and Ceuta.

Bugeiro affirmed that all funds used to finance the party’s limited activities have come from its promoters. “We do not receive money from anyone — either from Spain or, of course, any other country,” Bugeiro told Spanish media.

In Ceuta and Melilla, 40% of the population is Islamic. It is estimated that similar rates are present also in Catalan provinces like Salt (Gorona), where PRUNE could catalyze the Muslim community vote.