Spain held its second Parliamentary election in just over six months on Sunday, with voters likely to deliver an even more fragmented Parliament with no clear winner and a sizeable showing by the far-right.
Opinion polls show the Socialists in the lead but likely to win slightly fewer seats than in April’s vote, while the conservative People’s Party (PP) could gain strength and the far-right Vox could become the country’s third-largest party, just months after winning its first parliamentary seats.
Spain has been struggling to put stable governments together since 2015, when new parties emerged from the financial crisis following decades during which power oscillated between the Socialists and the PP.
Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the election — the fourth in four years — betting that a new vote would strengthen his hand after his Socialist Party won in April but then failed to forge the alliances needed to form a government.
Violent protests by separatists last month in the northeastern region of Catalonia have overshadowed the campaign, delivering a boost to the right, and in particular to Vox and the PP, whose fiercely anti-separatist rhetoric has struck a chord with many voters.
Polls suggest that support for Vox could as much as double, even if pollsters have struggled to estimate the new party’s popularity.
The overall result is likely to be very close, leaving the door open to several possible configurations or even a repeat election.