Shift to the right expected in parliamentary elections in Spain
MADRID (APA)- Spain is electing a new parliament this Sunday. Polls predict a defeat for the left-wing minority government of socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (PSOE). The conservative People’s Party (PP) is likely to be the strongest force in the country with around 47 million inhabitants, but will fall short of an absolute majority.
Top candidate, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, would then have to rely on the extreme right-wing populist party Vox to form a government.
If there was a slightly higher turnout in the early afternoon than in the last election in 2019, this value fell until the early evening. According to the newspaper “El Mundo” (online edition), 53.07 percent of those entitled to vote cast their votes by 6:00 p.m. CEST, almost four percentage points less than in 2019. At that time it was 56.85 percent at this time.
Polling stations close at 20:00 CEST, in the Canary Islands at 21:00 CEST. A total of 37.5 million Spaniards are called to vote for 350 MPs. 1.6 million are voting for the first time. According to the opinion research institute GESOP on Friday, Feijóo’s PP can count on 32.7 percent of the votes, Prime Minister Sánchez’s Socialists (PSOE) on 28.5 percent.
Feijóo would prefer to govern alone. But not a single poll predicts the PP will win more than 156 seats in a Congress where the absolute majority is 176 seats. So everything depends on the large army of undecided people, who make up 15.2 percent of those entitled to vote. But also the turnout.
According to experts, the main reason for the Socialists’ election debacle was the low turnout in the nationwide local elections and the twelve regional elections at the end of May.
It was all the more astonishing that Spain’s socialist head of government, in a kind of flight forward, brought the new elections forward to July 23 of all times. The country is actually in vacation mode at this time and not in election mode.
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards are already on the country’s Mediterranean shores, enjoying paellas and “tintos de verano” (red wine with lemonade) on the beach.
So it was only logical that the Spanish postal service had to hire up to 20,000 additional helpers in order to be able to process the 2.5 million applications for postal votes – twice as many as in the provisionally last parliamentary elections in 2019.
So, at least in advance, there is no sign of electoral fatigue. No wonder, there is a lot at stake.
Since an absolute majority for one of the two major mainstream parties would be a surprise, there are only three possible scenarios, political expert Pablo Simón explains to APA: “New elections” or a renewed, but less likely majority of socialists and the link pact “Sumar”, which also includes the previous government partner Unidas Podemos.
“Or, and this is what all the polls are predicting, an election victory for the conservatives, who, however, would depend on the right-wing populist Vox party.”
The conservatives have no parliamentary alternatives. Sánchez, on the other hand, has already made it clear that he will not support a conservative minority government, even if this means that the conservatives have to bring the right-wing extremists into government.
When Sánchez cast his vote in Madrid on Sunday, he was greeted by a small group of people who shouted “liars” at him, according to Reuters news agency. However, a similar number of his fans were also there, celebrating him as “Prime Minister”, as seen on Spanish television TVE. He told reporters he had a “good feeling” about the election.
PP lead candidate Feijóo told his polling station in Galicia that he hoped Spain could start a “new era”. Vox boss Santiago Abascal emphasized “the most important thing” is that Spain changes course”. Sumar leader Yolanda Díaz said that people must understand that their “rights are at stake” and that they should turn out in large numbers in “probably the most important elections” of their generation.