MADRID (dpa-AFX) – Voting for regional and local elections has begun in Spain. Around 36.6 people were called to the polls across the country on Sunday. In twelve of the total of 17 Comunidades Autónomas, which roughly correspond to the German federal states, the regional parliaments will be newly appointed. In addition, the city councilors and mayors of all 8131 municipalities and the two autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa will be re-elected. The vote is seen as a test for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s left-wing government before the parliamentary elections at the end of the year.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for December 10 at the latest in the fourth largest economy in the European Union. Debates about economic and social policy were at the center of the heated election campaign. There was also criticism of the candidacy of former members of the now defunct Basque terrorist organization ETA, as well as several scandals involving electoral fraud through vote-buying.
The performance of the largest opposition party, the conservative People’s Party PP, was eagerly awaited. The PP, which was in crisis at the time, only elected Alberto Núñez Feijóo as the new party leader a good year ago. But the results of several left, right and regional parties were also considered important. Because they should also play a role in the formation of a government after the parliamentary elections. According to all the polls, neither the Socialists from Sánchez (PSOE) nor the PP will achieve an absolute majority and be dependent on finding a partner./er/DP/zb