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  • People wait in line to cast their ballots for the Andalusian regional elections at a polling station in Cuevas del Becerro, Spain, Dec. 2, 2018

    People wait in line to cast their ballots for the Andalusian regional elections at a polling station in Cuevas del Becerro, Spain, Dec. 2, 2018 | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 December 2018

Andalusia registers a 45% voter turn out, down from 2015, as Prime Minister Sanchez's Socialist Party tries to maintain power in the region.

Spain's Andalusia region held its parliamentary elections Sunday in a test for the Socialist Party (PSOE) that has secured a stronghold in the country’s southern region for decades but is predicted to win fewer seats, according to Reuters.

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Andalusia Elections: PSOE Struggles to Keep Far Right at Bay

The election is taking place amid a fragmented political landscape in which Prime Minister’s Pedro Sanchez’ PSOE holds the minority in the national parliament, making it impossible for him to pass a budget since taking office last summer when he replaced former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in June.

The key to this election, local media says, will be how post-electoral pacts unfold as the centrist parties of the Ciudadanos (Citizens) and People’s Party (PP) might wind up second.

Others anxiously await to see if the right-wing Vox party, founded in 2013 with its nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric, can take up the five seats that pundits predicted. This would bring Spain into the fascist fold that has swept other European countries, a situation not seen since its 1970s military dictatorship.

The Andalusia campaign focused mainly on immigration and refugee-seekers from Africa and the Catalan push for independence.

The region has one of Europe’s highest unemployment rates and houses Spain’s main port to receive asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean.

“We are as Spanish as we are Andalusian, and that’s why it pains us to see what is happening in Catalonia,” Juan Marin, Ciudadanos' candidate told a rally gathered in Seville Friday.

Though final tallies are still unknown, voter participation was down by four percent from the region’s last elections in 2015. As of 6:00 p.m. local time participation in the regional elections averaged around 45 percent, according to the regional government twitter feed.

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