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Spain’s campaign concludes ahead of Sunday vote with socialists closing gap on right-wing rivals

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In the run-up to Sunday’s snap election, Spain’s political parties wrapped up their final day of campaigning on Friday. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed optimism, stating that his Socialists were making a comeback, narrowing the distance between them and their right-wing opponents.

According to the latest opinion polls, the right-wing Popular Party (PP) is projected to win the most seats in parliament but may fall short of obtaining a working majority. If this scenario unfolds, the PP might need to form a coalition government with Vox, a far-right party. This would mark the first time a far-right party holds a share of power in Spain since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975.

The PP’s campaign faced challenges in its final stages, with leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo facing renewed questions about his past association with notorious drug trafficker Marcial Dorado during the 1990s when he held a senior position in Galicia’s regional government. Additionally, Feijoo made incorrect claims during a TV debate, stating that the PP had consistently approved pension hikes.

Prime Minister Sanchez, during his final rally in southern Madrid on Friday night, mocked Feijoo’s assertions about his past ties with Dorado, further intensifying the campaign atmosphere.

The election’s focus has been on economic matters, with Prime Minister Sanchez highlighting Spain’s strong economic performance compared to its EU counterparts. While some final polls suggest the PP and Vox are heading towards a working majority in the 350-seat parliament, others indicate that they might fall short.

If the right-wing parties fail to secure a majority, the Socialists may have the opportunity to form a government by collaborating with the far-left Sumar alliance and other smaller parties.

Analysts warn that a deadlock leading to no side obtaining a working majority could result in a repeat election, similar to what occurred in 2019.

The Prime Minister, in office since 2018, called for the early election following a disappointing performance by his Socialist party and its far-left coalition partners in the May local and regional elections.

Feijoo, who concluded his campaign in Galicia, expressed a sense of change in the country. He pledged to overturn many of Sanchez’s laws, including one that allows individuals aged 16 and over to change their gender on their ID cards with a simple statement.

Throughout the campaign, Sanchez and Feijoo engaged in heated exchanges, with Feijoo condemning the Prime Minister for using negative tactics, including referencing Marcial Dorado, to discredit him.

The PP and Vox have also criticized Sanchez’s minority coalition for relying on the support of Catalan and Basque separatist parties to pass legislation, accusing it of betraying Spain’s interests.

Meanwhile, Sanchez has condemned the PP for forming local and regional alliances with Vox, a party known for its opposition to abortion, denial of climate change, and rejection of government efforts to combat gender violence. Vox has gained power in over 140 municipalities, either independently or in collaboration with the PP, and is also in joint governance with the PP in two other regions since the May 28 elections.

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