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Spain votes in crucial general elections


IANS Madrid
Voters in Spain on Sunday headed to the polls for the third time in four years, with the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers party (PSOE) expected to win the country's general elections but fall short of a majority.
Nearly 36.9 million voters are eligible to cast their vote in the general elections to decide their 350 representatives in the Congress of Deputies and 208 in the Senate, reports Efe news.
Polling stations opened at 9 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m., except in the Canary Islands, where the local time is an hour behind the rest of the country.
The elections were called by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in February after Catalan separatists joined right-wing parties in rejecting his 2019 budget, the Guardian reported.
Sanchez's PSOE has governed Spain since last June, when it used a no-confidence vote to oust the corruption-ridden conservative People's party (PP) from office.
But his minority government has struggled to advance its legislative agenda as it holds only 84 of the 350 seats in the congress of deputies.
Sanchez's opponents argue that he should take a far tougher line on the Catalan independence issue, which has dominated Spanish politics since the regional government's secession attempt in 2017.
The territorial crisis has also fuelled the emergence of Vox, which, until last year, was a fringe party without the support to win seats in congress.
According to the latest polls, Vox could secure about 11 per cent of the vote on Sunday, making it the first far-right grouping to win more than a single seat in congress since Spain returned to democracy after the death of General Franco in 1975.

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First Published: Apr 28 2019 | 1:46 PM IST

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