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Spains Conservative PP Party Makes Gains Ahead Of National Vote

Spain’s conservative PP party made significant gains a month ahead of a national vote that could see the left-wing ruling coalition lose power. In a new poll, the PP is projected to win the most seats in the lower house of parliament ahead of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).

The survey between June 26 and 30 showed the PP widening its lead over PSOE, which lost support after the government roiled the economy by imposing windfall taxes on energy companies and banks. It also riled investors and wealthier Spaniards by pushing through legislation to limit water use for agriculture.

But despite a strong showing in regional elections in May, the PP still needs a working majority. It would need to ally with the far-right Vox party in parliament. PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo said he would prefer to avoid an alliance with Vox, which Santiago Abascal leads. But he faces pressure from some within the party to move further right.

Founded in 1989 as a re-foundation of several post-Francoist proto-parties, the PP has become one of Europe’s most potent conservative parties. It won the last national election in 2011 but was defeated by a left-wing coalition in the next regional elections.

A recent slump in popularity saw the PP drop from 33% to 18% in just two years. It was blamed on economic policies that led to the country tumbling into a deep recession, with more than 20 million people out of work at its peak. Spain only emerged from the crisis in 2017, and its economy is growing at one of the fastest rates in the eurozone.

Spain’s conservative PP party is set to make the most of the country’s rebound with a strong showing in upcoming local and regional elections. The governing socialist PSOE faces a tough challenge as it is weakened by the defection of its junior coalition partner, the far-left Podemos party.

In the latest opinion poll by private pollster GAD3, the PP was forecast to win between 140 and 143 seats in the 350-member lower house. That would leave it well short of a working majority, even with support from allies like the far-left grouping Sumar and the splinter faction of the independents called Catalunya Solidarity.

Despite the recent slump, the PP has remained popular in Andalusia, where it has won control of seven larger cities. Its popularity is likely boosted by several scandals involving the PSOE, including alleged corruption in its regional government.

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