Spain is holding local and regional elections on Sunday, seen as a barometer ahead of the year-end general elections. Polls show that Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will defeat them and the right will return to power.
The local elections are a test for Mr Sanchez and his Socialist Party, which governs a country with the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy in coalition with the far-left Podemos party.
Mayors are elected in 8,131 municipalities, as well as regional leaders and assemblies in 12 of Spain’s 17 regions, ten of which are currently led by socialists.
Voting started at 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. Lithuanian time), 35.5 million people can vote in municipal elections and 18.3 million in the regions. people. Polling stations close at 8 p.m. (21:00 Lithuanian time). Preliminary results will be announced in two hours.
If the left beats expectations and manages to retain control of most regions, it would mean a very close general election in December and a good chance for the left to stay in power, analysts say. But if polls showing the expected rightward shift hold true, success at the regional level will give opposition leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo, leader of the right-wing People’s Party, the “momentum” he needs to win the elections in the end of the year.
In the 2018 Sunday poll the incumbent, Mr. Sanchez, is at a huge disadvantage. Voters are tired of a leftist government where inflation, although lower than in other European Union countries, is high and eroding purchasing power.
AN Feijoo went to great lengths to turn the election into a national referendum on Mr Sanchez. He condemned the Prime Minister for flattering not only the far left but also the Basque and Catalan separatist parties on whose parliamentary support Mr Sanchez’s minority government relies.
“I have come to ask for the support of a Spain that wants to overthrow ‘Sanchezism’ this Sunday,” AN Feijoo said at the end of the campaign on Friday night, using a disparaging description of Sanchez’s policies.
In his own closing speech, Sanchez focused on his government’s achievements in reviving the economy, tackling drought and managing Spain’s water resources. “Social democratic policies are much more suited to Spain than neoliberal policies because we manage the economy much better,” Sanchez said.
Source: The Delfi