By euronews with Agency
After exercising their right to vote, the candidates called on voters not to stay at home and vote, despite the high temperatures this Sunday. None have commented on the possible results, since tonight there could be surprises.
Participation in the first hours of the Spanish general elections rose two and a half points compared to those of 2019 and exceeded 40%, according to data offered this Sunday by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.
In the first five hours after the opening of the polling stations, at 2:00 p.m. local time, participation was 40.23%, compared to 37.92% in the previous ones of November 2019, in a day that passes normally despite the fact that it is the first time that they have been held in the middle of the summer season and with many Spaniards on vacation.
This data does not take into account voting by mail, which has reached historic figures in these elections: 2.47 million voters have sent their ballots before this Sunday.
Candidates exercise their right to vote
The first of the candidates to preside over the Government of Spain to vote was the current head of the Spanish Executive, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, who asked the citizens for a “historic” participation so that the polls allow there to be “a strong Government”.
After noon, the leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP), Alberto Núñez Feijóo, went to his polling station in Madrid, for whom today “Spain can start a new era.”
The rest of the candidates also went to vote in these early hours, including the leader of the left-wing coalition Sumar and second vice president of the Government, Yolanda Díaz, who appealed to all citizens to exercise a right that has been difficult to recover and issued a warning: “today we are at stake to wake up tomorrow with more rights, more democracy and more freedom.”
For his part, Santiago Abascal, candidate for the far-right formation Vox, predicted that his formation will obtain a “heroic” result and encouraged voters to vote for a “change of course” in Spain.
What is voted in these elections?
A total of 37,469,142 Spaniards are called to go to the polls in these elections, of which 2.3 million reside abroad.
Of the voters residing in Spain, 1,639,179 can participate for the first time, having turned 18 since the previous vote.
The Spanish general elections, in which the representatives of the Congress (350) and the Senate (265) are directly elected, are held every four years, unless the head of the Executive orders their early dissolution, as has happened on this occasion.
For those who are going to vote this Sunday, 210,000 ballot boxes and 59,000 booths have been installed and 85 million envelopes have been distributed at polling stations.
More than 90,000 members of the State security forces and bodies are part of the security device to ensure that the process runs smoothly and without incident.
Two contending blocs
In these elections, two blocs face each other, the conservative, led by the Popular Party (PP), and the progressive, with the Socialist Party (PSOE) at the head, who have tried to get enough support during the campaign to be able to form the next government of Spain.
If they do not achieve it on their own, and this is what the polls suggest, each of the two parties will be forced to try to reach a government majority after agreeing with their respective extreme on the political spectrum: the far-right formation Vox in the case of the PP and the left-wing coalition Sumar in that of the PSOE.