Spain - Vote

Spain Votes in Landmark Polls That Could End Two-Party Politics

Spain Votes in Landmark Polls That Could End Two-Party Politics
Sun Dec 20, 2015 18:44:28

Spanish voters went to the polls Sunday in what is expected to be one of the most closely fought contests in modern history as two dynamic new parties take on the country’s long-established political giants.

The general election caps off a year of electoral change in southern Europe after far-left party Syriza was swept to power in Greece in January and a coalition of leftist parties in Portugal pooled their votes in parliament to unseat the conservative government after an inconclusive election in October.

Spain has been dominated for more than three decades by the conservative Popular Party and the main opposition Socialists, who have alternated running the government.

But this time around many voters are expected to cast their ballots for two upstart parties vying for change — the centrist Ciudadanos and the anti-austerity Podemos, a close ally of Greece’s Syriza.

Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera said Spain “was on the threshold (of) a new era” after he cast his ballot in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat in the northeast.

Polls predict Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP) will win the largest share of the vote but not enough to retain its absolute majority in parliament.

Such a result would force it to form an uneasy alliance with another political grouping or attempt to rule as a minority government.

And all bets are off regarding who will come second in the legislative elections, as the Socialists could end up neck-and-neck with Ciudadanos and Podemos, which would give these new parties unprecedented influence on the political scene; AFP reported.