Spanish anti-austerity party to play kingmaker role after vote

Podemos was poised for a possible role as kingmaker in the first of four significant electoral tests in Spain this year

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The Independent Online

The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) was on course to capture the most votes in Andalucia’s regional elections yesterday but the new anti-austerity party, Podemos, was poised for a possible role as kingmaker in the first of four significant electoral tests in Spain this year.

Early results indicated that the PSOE would again be the most popular party in one of its strongholds, taking between 45 and 50 seats of the regional parliament’s 109 and continuing its hold on power in Andalucia, which has lasted for 33 years.

But the anti-austerity Podemos party, with a predicted total of about 15 seats, is all but certain to supplant the Communist-led left wing party Izquierda Unida (IU) as Andalucia’s third-strongest political force.

The Partido Popular (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was forecast to lose roughly a third of its 2012 regional election total of 50 seats, a result that may set alarm bells ringing in Madrid.

“I haven’t voted for 20 years, but I feel this is an exceptional occasion. We’ve got to try and change things,” said Javier Caracuel, a long-term unemployed man in his 40s from Linares, one of Andalucia’s jobless blackspots. He said he would be voting for Podemos, adding:  “A lot of people I know have decided this could be a turning point.”

If initial results are confirmed, the PSOE would be forced to negotiate with another party to retain power.

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