An­dalucía fore­casts gen­eral elec­tions

Sun­day's re­gional bal­lot re­sults to have huge ef­fects on na­tional pol­i­tics

Costa Levante News - - SPAIN NEWS -

By James Parkes SUN­DAY'S re­gional elec­tion in An­dalucía is fore­cast to have a huge im­pact on na­tional pol­i­tics, and could even trig­ger a gen­eral elec­tion.

Spain's largest re­gion has been in the hands of the PSOE So­cial­ist party since the re­turn of democ­racy to Spain in 1978, but re­cent elec­tions have left them short of an over­all ma­jor­ity and the same out­come is ex­pected on Sun­day.

An agree­ment or even a coal­tion will have to be ne­go­ci­ated other par­ties and what­ever hap­pens will have a mir­ror-ef­fect on Madrid where the PSOE also rules in mi­nor­ity.

In the last TV de­bate be­fore the elec­tion held on Mon­day evening, PSOE can­di­date and act­ing re­gional pres­i­dent Su­sana Díaz tried, with­out suc­cess to get her Ci­u­dadanos and PP ri­vals to prom­ise they would not reach any agree­ment with far-right wing party Vox - which is ex­pected to get its first ever re­gional MPs in Spain on Sun­day.

De­spite the failed at­tempt, both PP and Ci­u­dadanos have opened fire against Vox, which poll sur­veys give at least one re­gional MP for Alme­ria Province.

If Ci­u­dadanos over­takes the PP in re­gional re­sults, new PP na­tional leader Pablo Casado would be po­lit­i­cally wounded. Mean­while, if Pode­mos agree to rule along­side PSOE - whom they have openly crit­i­cised due to their cor­rup­tion cases - Pablo Casado's left-wing party would get its first re­gional gov­ern­ment power in Spain and a gen­eral elec­tion boost.

If, on the other hand, Pode­mos does not agree to rule with the PSOE, this could com­pletely shat­ter the na­tional co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the left-wing par­ties and lead to a gen­eral elec­tion in spring. With Ci­u­dadanos and PP so far re­fus­ing to ne­go­ci­ate with the PSOE (Ci­u­dadanos left the coali­tion it held with the An­dalu­cia so­cial­ists sev­eral months ago and trig­gered this re­gional elec­tion), and Pode­mos openly at­tack­ing the PSOE's cor­rup­tion, a stale­ment re­sult may force Su­sana Diaz to call another re­gional elec­tion in three months time.

The lat­est ru­mour is that an An­dalu­cia 'sec­ond round' in March could co­in­cide with a gen­eral elec­tion in this space! TV co­me­dian Dani Ma­teo has ap­peared in a Madrid court af­ter he blew his nose with the coun­try's na­tional flag dur­ing a tele­vised sketch. The La Sexta TV co­me­dian is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for al­legedly in­sult­ing the na­tion's sym­bol and in­cit­ing hate, which can be pun­ished with up to four years in prison. The 29-year-old de­clined to give ev­i­dence, ar­gu­ing that he needed more time to pre­pare his de­fence. Ma­teo had said he wor­ried about the coun­try's im­age be­cause "a clown has to stand be­fore a judge just be­cause he was do­ing his job". The sketch un­leashed a de­bate over pa­tri­o­tism and the lim­its of free speech in hu­mour, with some in­ter­net users calling for a boy­cott of the chan­nel that aired the pro­gramme and ad­ver­tis­ers can­celling con­tracts. Chi­nese pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping paid an of­fi­cial visit to Spain the week where he held meet­ings with King Felipe VI and PM Pe­dro Sán-´ chez. Xi Jin­ping said he wanted to strengthen the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two coun­tries and would like Spain 'be be­come China's gate­way to Europe'.

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