(CNN) – Spanish voters are aimed at the polls in the anticipated general elections of this Sunday in which a ultra -right party could enter the government for the first time in decades.
Most of the surveys predict that the opposition Popular Party will win, of center -right, but will not reach the absolute majority in Parliament, which means that they would probably have to form a coalition with the Vox ultra -right party.
The president of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, in power since 2018, opted for the celebration of an early vote after his party suffered great setbacks in the regional and local elections of May, while the PP achieved huge profits.
His Socialist Party (PSOE) currently directs the country in a minority government with a minor coalition partner, the leftist party Podemos, and obtains the parliamentary support of other leftist forces.
Podemos also suffered in the May elections and signed an agreement to run under the new leftist Alianza. Convergence aims to avoid another split in the left vote, as in May.
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On the other hand, the PP, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has promised tax cuts, a strong support for the European Union and a strategy to impulse economic growth attracting foreign investment.
Andrés Villena, professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, told CNN that when summoning the elections, Sánchez made “a complex chess movement” and may be waiting to overcome the leader of the PP Feijóo, a regional president for a long time in northwestern Spain that has only been in charge of the National Party since April 2022 and has not been tested in a national election.
During his time in the government, Sánchez has promoted a progressive agenda, which includes policies on women’s rights and an euthanasia law. These reforms won votes in urban areas, but the rhythm of change has also caused a violent reaction in other parts of the country.
At first glance, the economy seems relatively healthy, with an increase in employment and a reduction in inflation, but even some socialists admit that the benefits have not been generally felt among the Spaniards.
Territorial issues have also held an outstanding place on the agenda since 2017, when the Catalan authorities triggered a confrontation with the government after trying to separate from Spain.
Experts say that the idea of the country’s breakdown caused a resurgence of Spanish nationalism and has been key to the growth of Vox support.
While Sánchez criticizes conservatives for their government agreements with Vox in regional governments after the May elections, Feijóo has criticized Sánchez for obtaining the support of Catalan independence parties and a Basque independence party linked to the now dissolved terrorist group ETA.
Sanchez replies that he obtained votes from their progressive laws, but who were not members of his government.
So voters seem to have a clear option: a new right -wing government coalition or repeat a left.
Spain left the right -wing dictatorship of General Francisco Franco after his death in 1975, and although analysts warn against making easy links between Franco and Vox, the party’s manifesto includes policies that would constitute a significant setback in women’s rights, access to abortion and LGBTQ protections. The party is also anti -immigrant and has many skeptics about climate change.
The Socialists and the new ATMar group expect such perspective to mobilize liberal voters and give the helm a new opportunity.
Feijóo under fire
It was widely considered that Sanchez had lost the only debate televised with Feijóo at the beginning of the electoral campaign. But last week, it was Feijóo who was criticized, when he said incorrectly, in an interview on state television, that his party had always uploaded pensions to keep up with inflation. He retracted later that day.
Later in the week, Feijóo said in a rally that the employment data, which are part of the portfolio of the Leader of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, as Minister of Labor, have been “retouched” as if they were makeup, so that they look better. “As for makeup, she knows a lot about that. There is no doubt about it, ”Feijóo said about the only woman among the main candidates in the elections.
“It is pure machismo,” replied the former president of the socialist government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, in a radio interview.
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