Right-wing populists of Vox could benefit from parliamentary elections

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Dhe threatened protest storm this time stayed out. Before midnight, the last demonstrators made their way home in Barcelona. Only a few hundred radical separatists had faced several thousand police officers on Saturday. Government and security forces had feared that the violent protests that had started after the verdicts against twelve leading separatists in October could also affect Sunday's general election and influence its outcome. The new escalation of the Catalonia conflict had shaped the Spanish election campaign.

Hans-Christian Roessler

According to polls, the right-wing populist Vox party could benefit from this. She had demanded to crack down on the independence advocates, arrest Catalan regional president Quim Torra, and lift Catalonia's autonomy. Pollsters trust the right-wing populists that they could double their number of MPs in the Spanish Parliament and become the third largest force; In April, Vox moved into the Madrid Parliament for the first time with 24 members.

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had planned another election campaign in September when he scheduled the second parliamentary elections this year: his Socialist Party (PSOE) had hoped to gain more votes to finally form a government. The PSOE relied on the "cautious majority" that wishes for a viable government in the face of impending Brexit and worsening economic conditions. But after the tough judgments in the separatist process, it suddenly burned in Barcelona and the government did not get the security situation under control.

Everything has been revolving around Catalonia ever since. Only the socialists were able to form a "strong government" that could stop the ultra-rights and the Catalan separatists, Sanchez. Polling institutes predict that its PSOE party will regain its strongest power in parliament, but may face some losses. The decisive factor will be whether the leftists in particular will be able to mobilize voters: many Spaniards are frustrated that politicians have failed to form a government and have instead voted for the fourth time within four years. The voter turnout was around four percent lower in the afternoon than in the April election.

This could also be felt by the left-wing Unidas Podemos Party (UP). She wanted to support Sanchez's re-election as head of government only if he enters into a coalition with the UP. But Sanchez is still not ready for that. In addition, the UP has to struggle with the fact that it has split off from the new "Mas Pais" party, which could take their votes.

The Conservative People's Party (PP), on the other hand, has a good chance of recovering somewhat after having scored its worst ever result in the first general election at the end of April with 66 MPs. PP and Vox will probably recover at the expense of the right-wing Ciudadanos party, who predict the demos will fall heavily. This could mean that in the end the two big political blocs are almost equally strong again with a slight lead for the left. Without the prospect of a government majority, the political blockade will continue.



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