MADRID — Polls indicate that Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is on track to win a general election on Sunday, but suggest his Socialists would struggle to put together a ruling coalition in parliament — prolonging a political deadlock after a similar outcome in the previous national ballot in April.
Pollster GAD3 for the Spanish public broadcaster TVE puts the Socialist Party in the lead with between 114 and 119 seats in the 350-seat Parliament — down from 123 seats in April.
The polls place the conservative Popular Party second with between 85 and 90 seats — up from 66 seats in the April election.
The far-right Vox party is projected to finish third, more than doubling its seats to between 56 and 59, while the far-left Unidas Podemos places fourth, down from April, and the liberal Ciudadanos drops to fifth with the loss of three-quarters of its seats.
If confirmed — the official results start to come out from around 9 p.m. — this would mean Sánchez’s chances of forming a ruling coalition appear no easier than after the April election, and he may need to rely either on some form of understanding with the conservatives or on the backing of the far-left and Catalan pro-independence parties. In contrast to what happened in April, national right-wing parties would control more seats than left-wing parties.
If no ruling coalition can be formed, the country will face yet another election.
The survey — not strictly an exit poll — was based on nearly 15,000 interviews conducted over the past two weeks up to Sunday. New polls couldn’t be published from last Monday, according to local regulations.
About 37 million people were eligible to vote on Sunday to elect the 350 lawmakers of the Congress of Deputies (the parliament’s lower chamber) and 208 senators (out of 266 in the upper chamber).
Turnout by 6 p.m. was almost 57 percent, four percentage points lower than in April.
Sánchez seized power in June 2018, when he won a motion of no-confidence in his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy with the help of the far-left Podemos and Basque and Catalan nationalists.
Sánchez’s Socialists won the April general election with 29 percent of the vote and 123 seats in Congress, but could not secure majority backing in the parliament either with the help of the left or the right — leading to Sunday’s vote, which is Spain’s fourth election since December 2015, when the rise of Podemos and Ciudadanos fragmented the country’s political landscape traditionally dominated by the Socialists and rival conservatives.
The surge of the far-right Vox this year further divided parliament.