THE POLLS open at 9am on December 20 when Spanish voters will be encouraged to turn out to elect a government which should run the country for the next four years.
There are four main parties which have a chance, albeit in some cases as part of a coalition, to form the government. The current incumbent is the Partido Popular or PP whose leader Mariano Rajoy came to power in 2011 and his centre-right, conservative and catholic party has an overall majority
The majority of opinion polls forecast that although PP will gain the largest number of seats (between 118 and 121), it will not give them a majority and if they are to continue in government, they will need to form an alliance with another party, probably Ciudadanos.
The Partido Socialista Obrero Español or PSOE is a social-democratic party of the centre left.
Led by Pedro Sánchez it is seen as the nearest rival to the PP but is forecast to win between 95 and 98 of the seats so would certainly not be in a position to form any government, unless it was able to ally itself with at least two other parties. Ciudadanos, Party of the Citizenry, describes itself as being centre-left and non-nationalist.
Led by Albert Rivera, its main support is in Catalonia where it opposes any form of Catalan Independence and it is forecast to run PSOE a close third with 57 to 61 seats.
Podemos translated in English as ‘We can’ is an unashamedly left-wing political party founded in March 2014 by Pablo Iglesias a former University lecturer in political science likely to obtain 20 seats.
If the forecasts are anywhere near correct, then Spain is likely to see a coalition for the next four years.