Some 35 million Spaniards are eligible to vote today with the shadow of terrorism looming after suspected ETA separatists murdered a Socialist councilor Isaías Carrasco, 42, of Mondragón in the Basque Country. That follows a horrific attack four years ago on March 11 of the Madrid train bombings that dramatically changed the election result against the right-wing Popular Party (PP).
All in all, Spaniards will elect 350 deputies and 208 senators.
Like all the main political leaders, Carrasco’s daughter Sandra encouraged Spaniards to vote in mass today to show that Spain won’t be intimidated by terrorism.
Despite PP’s Mariano Rajoy’s poor showing in the two national debates against his Socialist Party rival José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the race is still too close to call. One Antena 3/Onda Cero poll shows the Socialists leading with 42.6% compared with 39.7% for the PP.
Whoever wins the elections, the next government that will rule the country will be faced by very big challenges on the economic front. Spain is one of the European countries that has been especially hard hit by the real estate crisis. The poor state of the country’s fiscal health will be exacerbated by the cooling of the economy.
Another hot debate topic was illegal immigration.
Spain has enjoyed democracy since 1977, two years after dictator Francisco Franco ruled (1939-75) Spain with an iron fist. His shadow still hangs over Spain.