IT has been staunchly socialist since the death of Franco in the 1970s.

And the Socialist party is likely to hold on to power in Andalucia when the region goes to the polls in December.

The challenge to the opposition parties has been set, after Junta boss Susana Diaz called a snap election for the region on December 2.

She insisted the decision to bring forward the election by many months was to battle the ‘instability’ around the rest of Spain.

“My land does not deserve the instability we are seeing in the rest of Spain,” insisted the PSOE leader.

The move will be seen by many as an attempt to use the momentum created when Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez took over in June following a no confidence vote in the former PP government.

NEW PM: Pedro Sanchez

Diaz insisted that early elections will give a clear indication of the public mood, after the PSOE minority government – which only has 84 out of 350 seats in congress – took power in Madrid.

Andalucia has always been a thermometer for national attitudes.

It is the country’s most populous region, and if the PSOE party can improve on 2015’s slim win of 47 of the total 109 seats, it will be a good sign for Sanchez in Madrid.

Africa’s migrants are a political headache for Sanchez, as he looks to maintain the support from left-wing base, while also keeping check on the rise of Nationalism, perpetuated by the populist Vox party, who can easily seize on the migrants issue.

In 1998, the number of foreigners in Spain made up 1.6% of the total population and by 2016 this had risen to 12.2%.

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