June 24, 2024

Spain’s 2023 election: Exit polls hope for right-wing government change

Spain could have its first far-right participation in government since the days of Franco after exit polls suggested a rightward swing.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is seeking to win a third national election in a row but exit polls predict a right-wing coalition may have enough votes to take power.

The centre-right People’s Party had 150 seats to win, while the anti-Muslim, anti-feminist Vox party had 31 seats, according to a GAD3 voter survey released after the polls closed. Together this would give the parties a majority in the 350-seat parliament.

The survey carried out by Sigma Dos was not so decisive, however, predicting 145-150 seats for PP and 24-27 seats for Vox, which could mean that both parties would fall short of the lowest range of their poll.

The Socialists were set to win 112 seats, according to GAD3, and 113-118 seats according to Sigma Dos, while the far left platform led by Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz had 27 seats or 28-31 seats.

GAD3 said its poll surveyed 10,000 people and closed on July 22. The Sigma Dos survey of 17,000 people closed on Sunday.

If both the left-wing and right-wing blocs fail to reach the threshold of the number of seats needed to govern, new elections may have to be called – as happened in 2019 and 2015.

Spain’s Socialist leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez votes during the general election in Madrid

(CHARACTERISTICS)

After casting his vote, Mr Sánchez said: “What will happen today will be very important not only for us but also for Europe and I think that should also make us think.”

The secretary general of the conservative People’s Party (PP), Cuca Gamarra, told Spanish television after the vote that the PP was about to “gain the first political force in a general election”.

The Interior Ministry said voter turnout at 6pm local time stood at 53 percent, compared to 56 percent at the same point in the country’s last national election, in November 2019.

The election was held at the height of summer, and millions of voters are likely to be on holiday from their usual polling places. However, requests for postal voting increased significantly before Sunday.

Election workers count ballots at a polling station during the general election, in Ronda

(CHARACTERISTICS)

With no party hoping to gather a clear majority, the basic choice is between another coalition on the left and a partnership between the right and the far-right.

The far-right party Vox proposes the expulsion of illegal immigrants and a naval blockade to stop them coming, and the closing of radical mosques, and support immigration to meet the needs of the Spanish labor market and from nationalities that share a language or culture.

He also promised to repeal progressive laws on transgender rights, abortion and animal rights, along with climate protections championed by Sanchez. Mr Abascal said Vox does not stand for former Spanish dictator Franco, who ruled until his death in 1975 after winning a bloody civil war in 1939. But Mr Abascal also said Mr Sanchez’s government was the worst in 80 years, a period that includes Franco’s regime.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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