Spain votes in close election as far-right looms

World Sunday 23/July/2023 18:39 PM
By: DW
Spain votes in close election as far-right looms

Madrid: Spaniards are voting in a snap general election that could see the country become the latest in Europe to swing to the right.

Polls suggest Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialists could be beaten by Alberto Nunez Feijoo's conservative Popular Party.

Going into Sunday's vote, around one in five voters were, however, still undecided.

Neither the Socialists nor Popular Party are expected to win an absolute majority of Spain's 350-seat Congress.

Sanchez called the election early after the left took a drubbing in local elections in May.

More than 37 million voters eligible to vote
A record number, 2.47 million, of the 37.5 million registered voters have cast an absentee ballot even before the polls opened.

The election takes place at the height of summer,  when a significant number of voters may be away from their usual polling locations due to vacations.

Sunday's election also comes on the tail of a month of heat waves and temperatures are expected to average above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). All polling stations are equipped with fans and water bottles.

Officials, however, still expect a 70% turnout in the vote.

Polling stations will stay open until 8:00 pm, with near-final results expected by midnight.

Vox poised to play kingmaker
According to polls, although the conservative People's Party is expected to come in first, but it is unlikely to secure an absolute majority. They may have to depend on the far-right Vox party's support to form a government.

It would be the first time a far-right party had entered government since Francisco Franco's dictatorship ended in the 1970s.

In an interview published on Friday by El Mundo, Feijoo stated that a candidate should not disclose their alliances just two days before an election. He added a government with Vox "is not ideal," he added.

In turn, the Socialists would rely on the new movement called Sumar, which brought together 15 small leftist parties to form a government for the first time ever.