Divided Spain votes again to break political deadlock

Opinion polls show the far-right Vox could become third-largest party

People line up outside a polling station to cast their vote in Barcelona.

Spaniards vote on Sunday in the country’s fourth election in as many years with Catalonia’s secession drive and the predicted rise of a far-right party dominating the campaign, news wires reported. The election was called by incumbent Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who won the most votes in the last ballot in April but failed to whip up enough parliamentary support to form a government.

Sanchez is tipped to win again but Spain may face another stalemate situation and months more without a stable government. Opinion polls also show the PP would be stronger and the far-right party Vox (Voice could become Spain’s third-largest party, just months after winning its first parliamentary seats.

Abstentions loom, with polls suggesting up to 35% of the electorate could stay away from the polling booths, up from 28% in April.

Spain, a country which returned to democracy after a near four-decade right wing dictatorship under late Gen. Francisco Franco, used to take pride in claiming no far-right group had seats in the national parliament, unlike the rest of Europe. But that changed in the last election when Vox erupted onto the political scene by winning 24 seats on promises of taking a hard line on Catalonia and immigration. Vox, headed by Santiago Abascal is expected to do even better this time and capitalize on the pro-Spain nationalist sentiment stirred by the Catalan conflict and in response to the caretaker Socialist government’s exhumation of Franco’s remains last month from his gargantuan mausoleum so that he could no longer be exalted by supporters in a public place.

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