New doubts over PP chances of absolute majority
9 March 2004, MADRID – Speculation was growing Tuesday over the ruling conservative Popular Party's chances of winning an absolute majority at the general election.
9 March 2004
MADRID – Speculation was growing Tuesday over the ruling conservative Popular Party's chances of winning an absolute majority at the general election.
A poll forecast victory for the PP at Sunday's election but said the government could lose its majority, which could force it to forge pacts with regional parties.
The poll, commissioned by the El Mundo newspaper, said the PP would obtain 168-173 seats in the lower house, with about 42 percent of the vote, 4.5 percentage points ahead of the main opposition socialist PSOE party.
Since 2000, the PP has held a majority, with 183 of the chamber's 350 seats.
According to the poll, the socialists, led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, are likely to win 138-144 seats, compared with the 125 they now hold.
The socialists have been gaining ground in recent polls.
The state-run Centre of Sociological Investigations released a poll on 4 March that gave the PP a lead of nearly 7 percent over the socialists, which would allow the governing party to maintain its absolute majority.
But the latest poll results would mean the PP's candidate for prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, would have to make pacts with the Canary Islands Coalition and maybe even the moderate Catalan nationalists of the CiU to ensure a governing majority.
The poll indicated that the CiU will fall from 15 to 11 seats, while its Catalan rival, the pro-independence ERC, will gain one seat to boost its total to six.
The ERC was at the centre of a political scandal following reports of a meeting between party leader Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira and the armed Basque separatist group ETA, which later declared a cease fire confined to Catalonia.
Carod, the former deputy prime minister of the regional Catalan parliament, was forced to resign and the affair damaged the Left.
A poll conducted by the Telecinco television network indicated that the PP could keep its absolute majority, with 42.5 percent of the vote, yielding between 174-176 seats.
According to that survey, the socialists would win just under 38 percent of the vote, translating into 136-137 seats.
Aiming at bridging the gap with the PP, the socialists have called on citizens to cast a "tactical vote" to prevent the governing party from keeping its absolute parliamentary majority, while urging the Left not to fragment its vote.
El Mundo's survey predicted the left-wing United Left coalition would remain practically unchanged, winning six to eight seats, compared with the eight it won in 2000, and that the Basque Nationalist Party will hang on to its seven seats.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news