Spain goes to the polls, again…

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Voters in Spain will head to the polls on November 10th for the country’s second general election. This is set to be the fourth election in the past four years.

The snap election has been called because Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez believes his Socialist Party will win more seats in a repeat election. After winning the biggest share in the April 2019 election (123 seats), Sanchez was still short of an absolute majority in the 350-seat assembly.

Recent events point to a difficult fight ahead for the Socialists, partly due to the recent chaos in Catalonia, voter fatigue, and a slowing economy.

In order of seats secured in the April elections after the Socialist Party, the other major players in this upcoming election are: Pablo Casado’s conservative Popular Party, Alberto Rivera’s socially liberal Ciudadanos (or Citizens) party, Pablo Iglesias’s left-wing Podemos party, and Santiago Abascal’s far-right Vox Party. Vox saw its support surge in April’s general election – winning 24 seats in parliament with more than 10% of the vote.

The abundance of elections can in part be attributed to the historic lack of coalitions within the Spanish system. The country has been gripped by political instability since the December 2015 elections ended the traditional two-party system, with the emergence of Podemos and Ciudadanos. The rise of the farright Vox Party, which entered parliament following April’s election this year, has further complicated the political picture.

The abundance of elections can, in part, be attributed to the historic lack of coalitions

The Spanish Centre for Sociological Research paints a more optimistic picture for 47-yearold Sánchez’s party in the upcoming election. Its last opinion poll suggests that the Spanish Socialist Party would in fact gain support in this repeat vote and could easily reach a majority by forming a coalition with far-left party Podemos or the right-liberal party Ciudadanos.

The issue of Catalan separatism still remains a subject of contention. With opinion polls suggesting a third of voters are still unsure of who they will vote for, right-wing parties are now competing on which would take a harder line on the restive region.

Meanwhile, Iglesias has stressed the existence of a “plurinational” country, with Sánchez himself aiming for de-escalation tactics in the region; this stands testament to a nation more divided than ever.

Please note that this election was written for publication before the day of the election, on the 9th November.

Image via pxhere

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