Spain heads for polls after tense campaign
A divided electorate of Spain generously headed to the polls after a response to the plea from the leaders of the party for a high turnout in the most open-ended and pivotal elections in decades. A tense campaign has been dominated by a debate over the national identity and other emotive issues like gender equality, a divided parliament is all set to feature the first block of lawmakers ever since the return of Spain to democracy in the 1970s. It is expected that the Socialists which represent Primer Minister Pedro Sanchez will finish first.
The opinion polls, however, suggest that no single party will be close to winning a majority thus making it very much possible that a coalition deal will take months or even weeks to broker, thereby pushing the country into political uncertainty all across Europe. There is a possibility of a repeat election. Prime Minister Sanchez stated, “Above all else today, Spaniards should vote in large numbers to send a …clear message of what we (as a nation) want over the next four years”. Voting in the mainland Spain will end at 8:00 pm for what is known as the country’s third national election in the time span of four years. This has eroded the dominance of the two-parties namely the Socialists and the conservative PP, which has been continued for almost decades.
Leaders from five major parties have expressed hopes that far-left Podemos and far-right Vox that there will be a huge turnout as people cast their ballots. Early inputs have suggested that voters are coming out in huge numbers, pointing towards a huge early participation, a thing which was only seen in the 1993 elections.
Some voters were gripped with both uncertainty and fear as the trauma of the military dictatorship under Francisco Franco who had passed away in 1975, still haunts many. Spain has been resistant to nationalism and populism which was spreading is wings in Europe. The Vox party had completely dishonoured the ideology of the dictator via its prominent policies including banning of laws and other symbols of the Franco-era.
The opinion polls are unable to clearly state how many seats will be bagged by the newcomer from the far-right party but it is hoped that many seats are possible especially as there is growing discontent with the established parties.