Spain goes to the polls with far right tipped to make gains

11 Novembre, 2019, 12:55 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Spanish Socialist Party leader is hoping to gt a ruling majority from the election

Spain's state-run broadcaster says the Socialists led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez won 120 out of 350 seats, about the same number as in the last election.

In the most optimistic scenario for the left, it would get to a majority of 176 seats when adding various small regional parties and Catalan separatist lawmakers.

Sunday's repeated election was called after the Socialists and United We Can, now Spain's fourth-largest party in parliament, failed to reach an agreement following the last election in April.

Spain is facing a hung parliament again as neither right nor left blocs gained enough votes to form the majority.

But many polls predict Vox, headed by Santiago Abascal, may do even better this time and capitalise on the pro-Spain nationalist sentiment stirred by the Catalan conflict and in response to the caretaker Socialist government's exhumation of Franco's remains last month from his mausoleum so that he could no longer be exalted by supporters in a public place.

Spain's four main parties have focused their campaigns on how to deal with the independence push in the northeastern region of Catalonia and the feared surge of the far-right Vox party. "Now, no matter what, we will form a progressive government", he said.

Since 2015, Spain has struggled to put stable governments together with support for newer, smaller parties chipping away at majorities once held by the Socialists and the PP.

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But the centre-right Ciudadanos slumped from 57 seats to just 10 and was replaced as the country's third-largest parliamentary group by the far-right Vox, a relative newcomer, which secured 52 seats.

Voting stations opened at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) and are set to close at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT), with results expected within hours.

More than 600 people were injured in the protests, which saw demonstrators torching barricades and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police.

"I call on all political parties to work on unblocking the political situation in Spain".

"Drastic solutions are needed", he said during his final campaign rally on Friday night in Madrid.

The far-right Vox was seen as the biggest gainer, with GAD3 forecasting it to more than double its representation from the 24 seats with which it debuted in parliament in April.

However, Pablo Iglesias, leader of left-wing Podemos, warned that it had only reinforced the far right.

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