AFTER right-wing parties made major gains at the May 28 local and regional elections, it seemed like a government led by the conservative Popular Party (PP) and backed by far-right Vox would be inevitable after the next election. 

That national vote was due to take place in December, but Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez surprised everyone by calling a snap election for July 23 the very next day after his losses on May 28. And the latest polling suggests that the PP’s lead might be slipping.

According to a survey carried out for Spanish daily El Mundo, the PP is now predicted to win 140 seats in the 350-seat lower house of parliament, down by one seat compared to a week before. 

The poll also predicted that Vox would win 35 seats, also down by one seat a week before. 

This means that the two parties would be short of a majority in Congress by one seat, with a total of 175 deputies. 

Such a result could spell trouble for the PP leader, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, given that few parties are willing to lend their votes to a coalition that involves Vox given its extreme views on issues such as immigration, gender violence or LGBTQ+ issues.

The poll from El Mundo also showed that the Socialist Party, which is currently governing in coalition with leftist bloc Unidas Podemos (United We Can), would win 102 seats. 

The survey also suggested that Sumar (Unite), a new alliance of left-wing parties, would win 35 seats compared to 30 the week before. 

Sumar was created by deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz, who is also the labour minister, and has absorbed smaller leftist groups such as the components of Unidas Podemos: the United Left, Spain’s communist party, and Podemos. 

Spain’s electoral system favours larger parties, and by joining together the splintered left wing of Spanish politics, Sumar is expected to attract more votes. 

If the polling is correct, then the Socialists and Sumar would still fall well short of the 176 votes needed for a majority in Congress, with 137 seats. 

But a coalition of these two groups is much more likely than the PP and Vox to find support from other smaller parties in Congress to not only form a government but also to pass legislation. 

This has been the arrangement during the last nearly four years of the PSOE-Unidas Podemos government, which has lacked a working majority in Congress but has passed key pieces of legislation – including the budget – by reaching agreements with groups such as the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV).

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