One week before Spain’s fourth general election in four years, the polls are predicting that the PSOE socialist party will again win the most seats, but yet again fail to win an absolute majority. The most recent poll is also predicting a surge in seats for the far-right Vox party, making it the third largest party in the Spanish Congress.
Spain will again hold a general election on Sunday 10 November, after acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez failed to garner enough support to form a new government after the previous election on 28 April.
After months of negotiations with the anti-austerity Podemos group, both parties failed to translate the left-wing parliamentary majority into a left-wing government.
With polls predicting that Sánchez will again fall short of a ruling majority after next Sunday’s votes are counted, he will face an uneasy dilemma: either reaching a deal with right-wing parties who criticise him for being too lenient on Catalan pro-independence parties, or reaching some kind of an agreement with pro-independence parties themselves – as well as finally with Podemos.
A CIS public research institute poll last week predicted that the PSOE will improve their results, obtaining up to 27 more seats above the 123 they won in April, and 32.2% of the votes. The same poll saw the People’s Party (PP) come in second, with Podemos beating Ciudadanos (Cs) for second place.
The CIS poll, however, was carried out between 21 September and 13 October – before the Supreme Court verdict sentencing on 14 October of nine Catalan politicians and activists to up to 13 years in prison, and which immediately caused widespread disturbances across Catalonia. It was also held before the recent exhumation of Franco – a previous key election pledge of Pedro Sánchez, yet highly criticised by right-wing parties, and in particular the far-right Vox party.
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A new GESOP poll carried out between 28-31 October and published by El Periodico newspaper predicts the PSOE party winning just 27.7% of the votes, with between 119-123 votes – possibly less than the amount they won in April. The poll also predicts the far-right Vox party winning between 49-53 seats, a big leap from the 24 seats the group won in April – and making it the third largest party. The right-wing parties together, however (with PP predicted to win between 84-88 seats and the Cs party just 13-17 seats), would still not command an overall majority.
Pedro Sánchez to end his campaign in Barcelona next Saturday
Meanwhile, Pedro Sánchez will be closing his campaign rally on Friday 8 November in Barcelona – the first time a Spanish head of government has held their last election rally in Catalonia.
‘It’s a message of Socialist party support for coexistence,’ said Salvador Illa, a spokesperson for the Catalan branch of Spain’s ruling Socialist party.
It’s a reflection of the importance of Catalonia and the independence crisis in the upcoming election, once again set to become the most heated campaign issue after the sentencing of 9 pro-independence leaders two weeks ago triggered a wave of protests in Catalonia.