ELECTION candidates throughout Spain are continuing to canvass for extra support in the countdown to Sunday’s local and regional polls. The final days of campaigning are all-important as the political and independent candidates battle it out to gain election and hold office for four years.
Holding public meetings, making house-to-house calls, as well as ‘pressing the flesh’ on street and shopping centre walkabouts, continue to be tried and tested methods of getting the X on personal ballot papers.
At municipal level, various parties will be seeking to secure the 68,462 council seats and 8,116 mayoral positions up for grabs. More than 20 per cent of candidates for mayor are women, Spanish daily ABC revealed.
Luis Ortiz Alfau, a candidate for councillor for the PSE-EE party in Bilbao, is a late starter in politics. He is 94 years-old.
“At my age I can’t even climb the stairs, but I can contribute my efforts and my experience,” he said. Many new parties have been formed at local level and, in some cases, unusual alliances have been formed.
In Vera (Almeria) Los Verdes (Green Party) joined forces with a nudist collective under the name INUNA-Los Verdes.
Of the 34 million registered voters, almost half-a-million (473,748) are foreign residents, 155,177 more than in the 2007 elections, government figures show.
At the 2007 elections, voter turnout was 63.27 per cent. As millions head to the polling stations set up in schools, sports halls and municipal buildings, 181,000 monitors will assist with the voting process.
More than 39 million envelopes are ready to be dropped into the208,309 ballot boxes across the nation. The elections include 13 of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, but foreign residents are not allowed to vote in them.
Polls show the Partido Popular (centre-right) are likely to gain control of several of these regions from the Socialist PSOE party due to rising unemployment rates (21 per cent) and a stagnant economy.