The outgoing Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is given a winner in the polls but without the absolute majority, which will force all parties to seek to form coalitions, with a parliament more fragmented than ever and polarized by the attempt of secession of Catalonia in 2017.
The Spaniards began voting on Sunday in tense elections where the head of the Socialist government, leading the polls, warns against the resurgence of the far right more than 40 years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco.
The ultranationalist party Vox is the announced surprise of these third legislative elections in three and a half years. Marginal just six months ago, he created a political earthquake by garnering nearly 11% of the vote in elections in the southern region of Andalusia.
Vox could make an entry into force in the Chamber of Deputies, with more than 10% of the vote and thirty seats out of 350 according to polls, in a country where the extreme right was absent from the landscape since the death of Franco in 1975 The Spaniards also renew Sunday a large part of the Senate.
Polling stations opened at 09:00 (07:00 GMT) and will close at 20:00 (18:00 GMT) before the announcement of results in the evening.
Pedro Sanchez, who came to power in June on a motion of no confidence against the conservative Mariano Rajoy (People’s Party, PP), warned against a wave of extreme right in Spain and Finland where the party of the True Finns came in second in mid-April.
According to opinion polls, scores of the PP, the liberals of Ciudadanos and Vox would not allow them to constitute a majority, like the one that allowed them to drive the Socialists out of power in their stronghold of Andalusia at the beginning of the year. ‘year.
But “there is a real risk, certain” that Vox does much better than say the polls and a right-wing majority can be formed with the support of the far right, launched Sanchez Friday.
The boss of the PP, Pablo Casado, who led a very aggressive campaign against Mr. Sanchez as “Trojan horse” Catalan and Basque nationalists, for the first time opened the door Friday to a participation of Vox to a possible right-wing government.
This party with anti-feminist and anti-immigration rhetoric, founded by former members of the PP, flourished in particular by advocating the strong way against the separatists in Catalonia whose party it wants to ban.
Sunday, “we will choose between anti-Spain or Spain alive,” hammered on Friday the leader of Vox Santiago Abascal, supported by Marine Le Pen in France or by Matteo Salvini of the League in Italy.
Wary of traditional media, Vox has campaigned massively on social networks, inspired by the strategy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the American Donald Trump or Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro.
- Intense negotiations –
With an ever more fragmented political landscape, Spain is destined in any case to intense negotiations to form a government.
Pedro Sanchez is expected to get only 120-130 seats according to polls, far from the absolute majority of 176.
He will therefore be forced to form alliances with the radical left of Podemos, in difficulty, and regionalist parties including, a priori, the Catalan separatists who had supported his coming to power in June.
But the socialist would prefer to avoid needing the latter again: the right has constantly accused him of having made a deal with the “enemies of Spain” and it is these same separatists who forced him to convene these early elections by refusing to vote his budget.
“Spain votes Sunday divided and in great uncertainty”, title Sunday El Pais, the largest newspaper in Spain, close to the socialists. On the right, the ABC newspaper says in an editorial that “the Spaniards must choose to be a candidate ready to make a deal with the separatists and those who want to defend the unity of the nation”.