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Spanish general election sparks fears of populist right’s rise; Netherlands elections on the horizon

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Spain is bracing for a potentially momentous shift in its political landscape as voters head to the polls for the general election. Opinion polls suggest that the right-wing Popular Party (PP) is leading the race, with a strong possibility of forming a coalition with the far-right Vox party. This outcome would mark the return of the far right to power in Spain for the first time since the Franco era.

The election has become a battle between two major coalitions. On one side, the PP and Vox are campaigning to end what they term “Sanchismo,” criticizing the governing style of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and accusing the left of radical ideology and deception. On the other side, the Socialists and a new movement called Sumar, which unites 15 small leftist parties, aim to protect the post-Franco democratic changes and prevent the rise of the far right.

The early election was called by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez after his party suffered losses in local and regional elections in May. The PP emerged as the most-voted party in the May elections, and since then, they have formed governing alliances with Vox in various cities and regions. As the election approaches, polls indicate that nearly 30% of the electorate remains undecided, making a surprise outcome possible.

The implications of this election extend beyond Spain’s borders, as a potential PP-Vox government would signal another European Union member shifting to the right. This trend has been observed in countries such as Sweden, Finland, and Italy, raising concerns among EU nations about the impact on immigration and climate policies. Notably, Spain currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, and a defeat for Sánchez could lead to the PP taking over this position.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the aftermath of the asylum crisis has led to a political crash, culminating in early elections scheduled for November. As the Dutch electorate prepares to head to the polls, both countries face critical decisions that could significantly shape their political landscapes and have broader implications for the EU.

In this era of evolving political landscapes and uncertain global events, the outcomes of these elections hold significant importance for both Spain and the Netherlands. As citizens exercise their right to vote, the future paths of these nations and their places in the EU community hang in the balance.

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