Chaves set for absolute majority
Regional poll likely to see PSOE keep control of Andalusia10 March 2008
MADRID - Exit polls for the Andalusian regional elections, which yesterday coincided with the general elections for the fifth time, suggested that incumbent Socialist (PSOE) candidate Manuel Chaves would be returned to power with an absolute majority. If the prediction proves to be correct, it would be his sixth term as regional head of Andalusia. At 6pm, turnout stood at 59.51 percent, 3.65 percent less than in 2004, figures that Chaves described last night as "good, but a little lower than four years ago."
Chaves swept to victory in the poll four years ago, winning 800,000 votes more than the opposition Popular Party, whose candidate for the job yesterday was Javier Arenas.
After casting his vote, Arenas said that it would be "deeply sad" if the day was affected by the "appearance of terror," a reference to the murder of a Socialist ex-councillor in the Basque Country on Friday, apparently the work of terrorist group ETA.
The Socialist incumbent, Chaves, voted at 1.30pm, saying that voting was a celebration of "freedom."
[Copyright EL PAÍS/ S. HUNTER 2008]