Spanish elections expected to result in minority government amidst rising nationalism

Spanish elections expected to result in minority government amidst rising nationalism

Spaniards will vote for a new parliament today after the socialist-led government in Madrid was forced to call early elections

Pedro Sanchez

Photo: Reuters

Spaniards will vote for a new parliament today after the socialist-led government in Madrid was forced to call early elections following the rejection of its budget in February.

Today’s elections are the first nationwide vote for the 350-seat parliament since Catalonia’s illegal referendum on seceding from Spain in 2017. It is expected to highlight increasingly stark political divisions, with a quarter of voters remaining undecided as issues of nationalism displace the economic issues of the past two elections.

The minority socialist-led government of Pedro Sanchez is facing a tough challenge from the far-right. The far-right Vox party has been ascendant in the past year, exploiting popular discontentment over Madrid’s failure to resolve and eliminate the secessionist threat from Catalonia. Last year it recorded its best result since the end of the Franco dictatorship in Andalusia’s regional elections, winning 12 of 109 seats.

Mr Sanchez’s Socialist Workers Party faces a difficult situation if his support comes from Basque and Catalan nationalist parties and the left-wing Podemos, whose early support as an anti-austerity party will be diminished by nationalist issues. A fractious coalition is expected based on inconclusive general elections of the past, with Sanchez’s PSOE expected to win around 129 seats and partner with Podemos and other nationalist parties to potentially form another government.

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