Spanish Socialist Workers Party wins election but falls short of majority

People line up outside a polling station to cast their vote for the general election in Barcelona Spain Sunday Nov.10 2019. Spain holds its second

Neither the left nor the right bloc are anywhere near an absolute majority in the 350-seat assembly following Sunday's polls, prolonging political deadlock in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy following a similar result in April's election.

Some 37 million people were eligible to cast their votes in the latest election, although official figures showed voter turnout was slightly lower than earlier this year.

The breakout stars of the election, meanwhile, are the national populist Vox party led by Santiago Abascal, which campaigned on a platform emphasising border securit, including building a wall to stop violent incursions into Spain's African cities of Ceuta and Melilla by illegal aliens hoping to reach European Union soil, and national unity, including proposals to outlaw parties seeking secession from the Spanish state.

It collected 52 seats, more than double its showing in the last election in April, making it the third largest party in parliament behind the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party, which recovered to collect 88 seats.

Voting stations will close at 8:00 pm, with results expected a few hours later.

Launched in 2014 by Santiago Abascal and others from the hardline fringe of the rightwing Popular Party, Vox struggled to gain traction at first, attracting only a smattering of voters with its ultra-conservative stance on immigration, gender violence and traditional family values.

"For us, it never rains but it pours", CETM deputy head Dulce Dias told AFP, noting that the cross-border highway had been cut on several occasions since the protests began four weeks ago.

"Spain needs a progressive government that puts the brakes on the far-right and a government that puts the brakes on the extremists also here in Catalonia, who are the separatists", he said during his final campaign rally in Barcelona on Friday.

The Catalan issue promises to continue festering with three Catalan separatist parties winning a combined 23 seats Sunday.

‘Special’ to play alongside Tiger Woods, says Patrick Reed
Put all his energy into that. "When it comes right down to it, like I told the guys, when you start out on Thursday, it's 0-0". Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth were among the golfers who weren't chosen this year after playing in the 2017 Presidents Cup.

The crowd responded by chanting "Torra to the dungeon".

"The one thing that the Catalans have achieved is to get a radical right equally as radical as they are on the other end, a kind of a mirror thing and with that make everyone's life more miserable", he said.

Julia Giobelina, a 34-year-old web designer from Madrid, was angry at having to vote for the second time this year.

Like Valdemoro, a good number of the towns surrounding the Spanish capital turned green on November 10 - the colour chosen by Vox for its logo.

In recent days, Sanchez has repeatedly raised the alarm about Vox's "aggressive ultra-rightwing" policies, warning the party would drag the country back to the dark days of Franco's dictatorship.

"I think we are worse than before: We are more divided", said Antonio Prados, a 44-year-old police officer.

With no single party able to secure the required 176 seats for a majority, the Socialists are likely to opt for a minority government, ING analyst Steven Trypsteen said. That changed in the spring, but the Socialists' April victory was still seen by many as a respite for Europe, where right-wing parties had gained much ground.

After April's vote, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez entered coalition talks with the leftist Podemos party, but these collapsed - causing them to miss a September deadline to form a new government.

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