UTV

Spain votes in election that could see a swing to right

Voting opened at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) Sunday and will close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), while according to experts the final result is expected to be decided by fewer than a million votes and fewer than 10 seats in the 350-seat parliament, Press TV English-language website reported.

Opinion polls show the election will likely produce a win for Alberto Nunez Feijoo’s centre-right People’s Party, but to form a government it will need to partner with Santiago Abascal’s far-right Vox.

This would be the first time a far-right party entered government since Francisco Franco’s dictatorship ended in the 1970s.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in power since 2018, gambled on holding a snap vote after his party suffered major setbacks in regional and local elections in May while the PP made huge gains.

The election is being closely watched by the international community, as it could result in another EU country swinging to the right.

A PP-Vox government would mean another EU member has moved firmly to the right, a trend seen recently in Sweden, Finland and Italy. Countries such as Germany and France are concerned by what such a shift would portend for EU immigration and climate policies.

Spain’s two main leftist parties are pro-EU participation. On the right, the PP is also in favor of the EU. Vox, however, is opposed to EU interference in Spain’s affairs.

The election comes as Spain holds the EU’s rotating presidency Sánchez had hoped to use the six-month term to showcase the advances his government had made. An election defeat for Sánchez could see the PP taking over the EU presidency reins.

Sánchez’s government has steered Spain through the COVID-19 pandemic and dealt with an inflation-driven economic downturn made worse by Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

But his dependency on fringe parties to keep his minority coalition afloat, including separatist forces from Catalonia and the Basque Country, and his passing of a slew of liberal-minded laws may cost him his job.

The right-wing parties dislike everything about Sánchez, saying he has betrayed and ruined Spain. They vow to roll back dozens of his laws, many of which have benefited millions of citizens and thousands of companies.

Photo: Vox party leader Santiago Abascal speaks at a campaign event on July 6.

MNA/PR

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