Exit polls put the Socialists ahead in Spain’s general election, but falling short of a majority for the second time this year. Tensions over Catalonia dominated campaigns, prompting a surge in support for the far-right.
Spain’s ruling socialist PSOE party took an early lead in Sunday’s general election but will come up short of a majority, exit polls showed shortly after polling stations closed.
An exit poll conducted by public television RTVE showed the PSOE securing 27.3% of the vote, followed by the conservative People’s Party (PP) with 20.1%.
The far-right Vox party was on track to take third place, more than doubling its seats in parliament since the last general election in April, RTVE reported.
Some 37 million people were eligible to cast their votes in the latest election, although official figures showed voter turnout was low. Just over 56% of voters had cast their ballots by 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT), according to the Interior Ministry — down from the 60.7% recorded at the same time during the vote in April.
Catalonia in focus
Much of the campaigns in the run-up to Sunday’s vote focused on the heightened tensions over the independence movement in the northeastern region of Catalonia.
Shortly after casting his ballot in Madrid, Vox party leader Santiago Abascal said he hoped “the election serves to reinforce Spanish unity.”
The last general election in April also saw the Socialists win the most votes, but fall short of a majority. Attempts by acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to secure support from other parties to form a government subsequently failed, prompting him to call an election.
Opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s vote indicated that the results would not be enough to break Spain’s political stalemate.