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    People hold banners depicting Catalan leaders' faces as they gather ahead of a rally of Catalan separatist organisations, in Madrid, Spain March 16, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 March 2019

Spain’s Socialists increased their lead in a poll recently published and create the prospect of a pole of resistance to neoliberalism in southern Europe.

Spain’s Socialists increased their lead in a poll published recently in newspaper ABC with 30.9 percent of votes, equivalent to between 131 and 134 seats in the 350-seat parliament, but fell short of a majority ahead of a general election on April 28.

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A coalition of three right-wing parties - People’s Party (PP), Ciudadanos and far-right Vox - would get 46.5 percent of votes, equivalent to between 157 and 166 seats at the parliament, but would also be short of the 176 seats needed to secure an outright parliamentary majority.

The Socialists’ support has increased by 0.3 percent since a previous poll by GAD3 published by ABC on March 10. 

Socialist Pedro Sanchez could clinch a majority to get re-elected as prime minister if he won the support of the array of parties, including Podemos and Catalan pro-independence parties, that backed him last June when he won a vote of confidence against PP’s government at the time.

The poll was conducted with 7,500 respondents between March 1 and 22 and had a margin of error of 1.1 percentage points.

Another poll published on Sunday by El Pais newspaper also gave the Socialists the victory in the election but with a smaller lead. The party would win 27.1 percent of the vote, or 122 seats, still short of a majority.

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, called a snap election for 28 April after Catalan secessionists joined rightwing parties in rejecting the socialist government’s national budget. 

"Between doing nothing and continuing without the budget, and calling on Spaniards to have their say, I choose the second. Spain needs to keep advancing, progressing with tolerance, respect, moderation and common sense," Sánchez said in a televised address to the nation in Feb. 2019. "I have proposed to dissolve parliament and call elections for 28 April."

Sánchez’s PSOE holds 84 of the 350 seats in congress. 

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