The last publicly available voter surveys prior to next Sunday’s general election show a virtual stalemate, with no single party or blocs of parties on the political left or right of the spectrum appearing able to win sufficient voter support for a 176-seat absolute governing majority in Spain’s 350-member Congress of Deputies.
If the poll predictions hold, the aftermath of the general election will make it difficult – but not impossible – for acting President Pedro Sánchez of the Socialist party (PSOE) to secure a combination of support and/or abstentions from other parties to form a new government led by the PSOE.
In a poll conducted by 40dB for the daily newspaper El Pais, Sanchez’s PSOE party comes out the winner wth 27.3 percent of the vote for 121 seats in Congress, a disappointing two seats short of the number held by the party in the last legislature. On the rise is the conservative Partido Popular (PP), with 91 seats, up from 66 in the last legislature, while Spain’s new far-right VOX party would place third in vote share in Sunday’s balloting, nearly doubling its number of seats in Congress to 46.
In a GESOP poll conducted for El Periodico, the PSOE holds steady or drops slightly at somewhere between 119-123 seats in Congress, while the PP moves its share of congressional seats up to 84-97 and VOX would have 49-53 seats in the next legislative session. A Sigma Dos poll for El Mundo gives the Socialists a similar number of seats (118-126), with the PP rising to 89-97 and VOX to 39-44 seats in the next Congress.
The increased voter support for the PP and VOX appears linked to a rise in Spanish nationalist sentiment among conservative voters due to a perceived weak response by the Sánchez government to rioting and violence against police in Catalonia by hooded protesters after the sentencing last month of nine pro-independence leaders to jail by Spain’s Supreme Court. The Catalan protests were followed by the government’s exhumation of former dictator Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen monument outside Madrid, further inflaming right-wing voter passions.
Both the conservative PP and far-right VOX parties appears to be taking voters from the centre-right Ciudadanos party, whose support in the polls has tanked in recent weeks. Ciudadanos held 57 seats in the last congressional session, but the pre-election voter surveys indicate the party could see its number of deputies in the next Congress fall to fewer than two dozen, with the El País poll giving them just 14 seats, El Periódico projecting 13-17 and El Mundo’s putting them at 16-19 seats in total.
To the political left of the PSOE, the Unidas Podemos coalition is projected to lose seats, falling from the 46 it held in the last Congress to 31 seats (El País poll), 37-41 (El Periódico) or 35-40 (El Mundo). The drop in support for Unidas Podemos is offset in part by voter support for Mas País, the new party formed by former Podemos, which would take up to 4.4 percent of the vote share for 5 seats (El País), 2-4 seats (El Periódico) or 3-4 seats (El Mundo) in the new Congress.
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