SPAIN goes to the polls today to elect a new parliament – with most dramatic change expected in Andalucia where Socialists PSOE will likely suffer an enormous defeat.
Electors will vote for the 350 deputies that make up the Congress of Deputies as well as the 208 Senate members.
Polls predict that the Conservative PP party, lead by Mariano Rajoy, will win the election with a landslide victory, making the 56-year-old Spain’s new prime minister before the weekend is out.
Staunch Socialists will be praying PSOE leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, 60, pulls it out of the bag at the last minute, but it doesn’t look likely.
Currently PSOE holds 169 and PP holds 154 seats in the lower house.
Today the PP is expected to win between 190 and 195 seats in the lower house of the Parliament and PSOE are expected to gain between 116 and 121 seats – which would be the party’s worst result since 1978.
Recent reports have shown that neither man is particularly popular in his party or among the electorate, and that if Rajoy wins it will be simply a matter of the lesser of two evils.
Many have found the election campaign to be dull and uninspiring, with PP leader so sure he will win that he hasn’t even tried all that hard to convince his country of his virtues.
After all, Spain’s economic climate, 22% unemployment – the highest inEurope – was sure to guarantee that PSOE would not get in again.
“The economic crisis has made the ruling Socialists unelectable, and the rather uninspiring Rajoy happens to be the only man around. It’s as simple as that,” said Guardian commentator Miguel-Anxo Murado.
PSOE Prime Minister Zapatero announced the snap election in July because of the economic crisis – announced that he would not be standing again.
Voting begins at 9am and ends at 8pm.