Elections in Spain, voting today with bated breath


MADRID – To vote with bated breath. Spain arrives at the appointment with today's early legislation – just six months after the last election – in the midst of a Catalan crisis that exploded with the heavy sentences handed down on October 14 by the Supreme Court against 9 leaders of independence. "We had foreseen everything," the current president of the government repeated Pedro Sanchez as if to justify the decision to dissolve the Houses at a time of extreme tension for the country. What he probably didn't foresee was the spectacular forward of the ultra-right Vox, which according to the latest polls (in Spain they are forbidden in the week preceding the vote, but they are published in "El Periòdic d'Andorra" which is based outside the national territory) could reach 53 deputies – out of a total of 350 – more than double compared to the 24 obtained in April.



Spain stuck in the labyrinth of the Catalan rebels on the eve of the elections

The threat of the extreme right led by Santiago Abascal, who was able to ignite the sentiments of Spanish patriotism against the secessionist challenge, monopolized the final appeals of all parties, both left-wing and center-right. Sanchez, who for the first time in the history of socialists wanted to close the electoral campaign a Barcelona instead of a Madrid, hopes that the danger of a racist and xenophobic advance can contribute to an exceptional mobilization in extremis of a left-wing electorate disappointed by the lack of agreement for a progressive government between PSOE and Unidas Podemos. The Socialists have appealed to the last to tighten the ranks to give more strength to the left, but the polls say that Sanchez's party could record a slight decline, from the current 123 seats to 116-122.

In reverse, Unidas Podemos, the coalition led by Pablo Iglesias which was given a heavy decline until a few weeks ago, could remain on a result close to 42 seats in April, perhaps even higher (despite the split of its former right arm Inigo Errejon that, with the new list Mas Pais, would get up to 4 seats). Starting from Monday, as long as the balance leans in favor of the left, it will be necessary to see if Sanchez and Iglesias will have the will to start a real negotiation with the aim of forming an executive, breaking the stalemate to which they have forced the country into last months.But the success of the progressive front remains in doubt until the last. The unstoppable rise of Vox (which may have slowed down in the last few hours) has upset the plans of other right-wing forces, starting with the Popular Party of Pablo Casado that, after the historical thud of April 28 (it obtained only 66 seats, never so few in the past) it aimed with a more moderate discourse to regain a part of the centrist electorate and re-propose itself as the only alternative to the PSOE. Now it seems in reality very far from the hundred seats that he saw as a minimum target (the last survey gives him 83-88).

However, it is possible that, despite the rise of Vox, the right-wing block will not be able to prevail over the one on the left if the expected collapse of Ciudadanos: the party of Albert Rivera, engaged in increasingly harsh tones in his campaign against Catalan nationalism, could pass from the current 57 deputies to a paltry result of 14-18 seats. We vote from 9 am to 8 pm, when the first ones will be released exit polls. By 11.00 pm the final result of the card counting is expected.

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