Spa­niards want early elec­tion, sur­vey shows

Cape Argus - - WORLD -

MADRID: More than half of Span­ish vot­ers favour an early na­tional elec­tion, a sur­vey showed yes­ter­day, as sup­port waned for a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment em­broiled in the coun­try’s worst po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in decades.

Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy im­posed di­rect rule on the re­gion of Cat­alo­nia af­ter it held an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum on Oc­to­ber 1 that Span­ish courts had de­clared to be il­le­gal.

The term of the mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment led by his cen­tre-right Peo­ple’s Party (PP) ex­pires in 2020, but 55% of re­spon­dents in Mon­day’s sur­vey said they wanted a bal­lot be­fore then.

The fig­ure in an equiv­a­lent sur­vey in Oc­to­ber was 49%.

The poll was taken by poll­sters Met­ro­scopia for news­pa­per El Pais news­pa­per be­tween Novem­ber 6 and 8 as for­mer Cata­lan pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont – whose gov­ern­ment was sacked by Ra­joy – pur­sued his cam­paign for the re­gion’s in­de­pen­dence from self-im­posed ex­ile in Bel­gium.

Au­thor­i­ties in Madrid have called an elec­tion in Cat­alo­nia for De­cem­ber 21.

Ra­joy was given a sec­ond term in Oc­to­ber 2016 when the PP won the most votes. How­ever, it failed to take a par­lia­ment ma­jor­ity.

The PP’s weak­ness in par­lia­ment has meant the gov­ern­ment has strug­gled to pass leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing the 2018 bud­get.

Sup­port for the PP, if the elec­tions were held to­day,, has slipped to 26.1% this month from 26.9% in July.

Back­ing for Ci­u­dadanos (Cit­i­zens), a pro-Span­ish unity party orig­i­nally from Cat­alo­nia, jumped to 22.7% from 18.5%.

This puts it equal sec­ond with the So­cial­ists.

The poll re­flected an of­fi­cial sur­vey taken at the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber that showed sup­port for Ci­u­dadanos had risen dur­ing the Cata­lan cri­sis.

This has be­come the Spa­niards’ sec­ond-largest is­sue of con­cern af­ter un­em­ploy­ment.

Left-wing Pode­mos, which sup­ports a ne­go­ti­ated ref­er­en­dum on Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence, saw vot­ing in­ten­tions drop to 14.7% from 18.7% pre­vi­ously, the Met­ro­scopia poll showed.

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