Spain: Socialist prime minister prepares for heavy Andalusian elections

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists are heading for a heavy electoral defeat in the country’s most populous region, Andalusia, on Sunday, highlighting the magnitude of the challenge he faces in winning his re-election in next year’s national vote.

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Sanchez and his government are struggling to cope with the economic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has pushed inflation to its highest level in more than three decades and sparked protests over fuel prices in its fourth-largest economy. eurozone.

Sanchez has said he intends to call a general election in December 2023, and although the PSOE still has a small lead in national polls, the gap with the Conservative People’s Party has narrowed in recent months. In power since 2018, the 50-year-old also suffers from regular clashes with his newest government partner, the far-left Podemos party.

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According to recent polls, the Sanchez Socialists are likely to lose ground in Sunday’s vote in Andalusia, the party’s historic stronghold in the south, which it lost in 2018 after 36 years in power. The PP is expected to double its support to more than 40% and secure almost an absolute majority of the 109 seats in the regional parliament, according to a GAD3 poll released Monday.

Spain’s conservative PP party is gaining ground nationally

“Andalusia is a thermometer for national emotion,” said Irene Delgado, a professor of political science at UNED University in Madrid. “The prime minister should pay close attention to the result in an area that was once a stronghold of the Socialists.”

The PP’s strong presence in the area around Seville is due in part to the current popular regional leader, Juan Manuel Moreno, whose success is helping the party overcome the espionage scandal that ousted its national leader earlier this year.

Even if the PP defeats the Socialists, as predicted, it remains unclear whether it will be able to form a government without the far-right Vox party, which was formed by opponents of the PP and which, according to opinion polls, will come third on Sunday.

Vox has already participated in a regional administration for the first time, when it collaborated with the PP in the region of Castile and Leon after strong results in a vote in February.

The current PP ally in Andalusia, the center-right Ciudadanos, may not get enough votes to win a single seat in the regional parliament, and the stabbed party is in danger of leaving the national political map.

With about 18% of the country’s population, Andalusia is a major battleground in a nation where politics is still overshadowed by Catalonia’s secession crisis. The southern region, the size of Portugal, is one of the poorest in the country.

Source: Capital

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