Spain holds its fourth general election in four years

Spain holds its fourth general election in four years

Spain holds its fourth general election in four years

Failure to reach agreement between the Socialists and United We Can, Spain's fourth largest party in parliament, following the last election in April was one of the main reasons for the calling of Sunday's vote, the fourth in as many years.

The opinion poll by GAD3 for public broadcaster RTVE published shortly after mainland voting ended at 7pm showed no clear advantage for either the leftist or the rightist bloc, pointing to a stalemate that could yet again fail to produce a working government.

Partial results showed the Socialists winning 122 of the parliament's 350 seats with around 28.5 percent of votes cast, while Vox had 53 seats, more than double the number the party had in the outgoing assembly.

Spain is holding a second national election this year after Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez failed to win support for his government in a fractured Parliament.

In recent elections, such early opinion polls carried out using a different methodology did not always give an accurate picture of the eventual results.

The conservative opposition Popular Party is in favor of tougher responses.

With no single party able to secure the required 176 seats for a majority, the Socialists are likely to opt for a minority government, ING analyst Steven Trypsteen said.

Before voting began, Santiago Abascal, Vox's leader, asked for the support of traditional leftwing voters who felt "abandoned" by the Socialists.

Voters in Spain are preparing to go to the polls for the country's fourth general election in as many years.

Catalonia's secession drive and the predicted rise of a far-right party have dominated the campaign.

Spain's main parties focused their campaigns the independence crisis in Catalonia, as well as the threat of Vox's grown popularity.

"We think that combining the courage of United We Can and the experience of the Socialist party we can convert our country into a reference point for social policies", Iglesias said.

In the breakaway region, where the build-up to the election has been marked by massive and sometimes violent protests at prison sentences handed down last month to nine independence leaders, Catalan President Quim Torra also made an appeal for "a massive turnout".

The October 14 ruling triggered days of mass protests in Barcelona and other Catalan cities, which by night descended into chaos, with demonstrators torching barricades and hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who hit back with water canon, tear gas and foam bullets.

At his final rally on Friday, Abascal - who wants all separatist parties banned - said "drastic solutions" were needed as his supporters chanted: "Torra to the dungeon!"

The almost 23,000 polling stations opened at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) where 37 million voters are summoned to vote until 8 p.m. (1900 GMT).

Spain has been caught in political paralysis since the election of December 2015 when Podemos and business-friendly Ciudadanos entered parliament. "But these changes will not make it easier to form a government", he added.

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