Spain votes in pivotal elections marked by far-right resurgence | News
Madrid, Spain – Spaniards are heading to polls on Sunday in a pivotal election that could see the return of a far-right party in a ruling coalition for the first time since its transition to democracy.
Polls opened at 9am (7:00 GMT) and are expected to close at 8pm (18:00 GMT), although they may be extended to 9pm in some cases.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of the center-left Socialist Workers' Party of Spain (PSOE) called snap polls after his government failed to pass a budget in February
There are five main parties that could form two possible ruling coalitions ; (1
9659005) Sanchez, who has reinvigorated support for PSOE after nearly a decade of losing to the mainstream right-wing People's Party (PP) , finished his campaign by saying he was open to a ruling coalition with the left-wing Podemos, headed by Pablo Iglesias, in an interview with the daily El Pais
Sanchez cited the "real risk of the right wing becoming one with the extreme right" as a reason to support PSOE during the interview. by Pablo Casado, could conceivably win a governing election with the support of the Citizens party, which is considered centrist and liberal but is considered far right by many in Catalonia, where it was founded in 2006; and the far-right, anti-immigrant Vox
[The right is] concerned with Catalonia and Franco. They say the crisis is over but we do not feel it.
Miguel Angel Rivera, philosophy student
A separatist push in Catalonia coupled with continued migration from Muslim-majority nations has helped Vox, which is projected to take about 12 percent of the vote, Ignacio Jurado, and senior lecturer of politics at York University, told Al Jazeera
Members of Vox have voiced their support for the four decades-long fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which ended in the 1970's, which was previously considered taboo in mainstream Spanish politics. 19659015] A vandalized mural of Jordi Cuixart, who is in prison on charges of rebellion and sedition [David Ramos/Getty Images]
Franco's rule was marked by a tough stance on national minorities in Spain, which is being echoed by Vox. PP and Citizens have also issued calls for limited autonomy in Catalonia, where many still hope for an independent state.
"The economic crisis and migration have been possibly underlying factors that have gradually created some conditions for the far right to emerge. the Catalan crisis has energized it, "Jurado said.
If Vox wins seats in the national parliament, it will be the first time a far-right group has held seats in the governing body since Franco's death in 1975.
For Miguel Angel Rivera, and a 20-year-old philosophy student, the talking points for Vox, PP and Citizens hold no water.
"They're concerned with Catalonia and Franco, I'm concerned with getting a job," Rivera, who plans to vote PSOE, told Al Jazeera. "They say the crisis is over, but we do not feel it."
Spain was one of the countries hardest hit by the global recession that began in 2008. It has been declared over, and EU countries like Germany and Hungary has experienced unemployment rates dipping below four percent
Spain needs stability. It can not survive attacks on its territory.
according to to the economical economy, even as living cost increase  PSOE and Podemos agreed to an increase in the minimum wage in 2018, which Rivera said contributed to his support for PSOE
Maria Villalobos, a pensioner in her 70s who lives in Madrid's trendy La Latina neighborhood, plans to vote for PP
] "Spain needs stability, it can not survive attacks on its territory," Villalobos told Al Jazeera
Casado, who has vowed to enact Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution in Catalonia, which will place it under direct rule of Villalobos said, "I lived under Franco, it was not easy, but we were Spanish."
Villalobos said that, when asked to join a ruling coalition with Vox, . "
Voting in the Spanish electio n is expected to continue through the evening when the preliminary results will be announced