UPDATE 5-Socialists in lead in Spain election, but no clear winner -opinion poll
The Socialists of Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez were seen finishing first in Sunday's national election, but further away from a majority in an even more fragmented parliament with many more far-right deputies, a survey showed. The opinion poll by GAD3 for public broadcaster RTVE published shortly after mainland voting ended at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) showed no clear advantage for either the leftist or the rightist bloc, pointing to a stalemate that could yet again fail to produce a working government.
The far-right Vox was seen as the biggest gainer, with GAD3 forecasting it to more than double its representation from the 24 seats with which it debuted in parliament in April. The poll was based on the voting intentions of around 14,000 people collated in the days leading up to the election - Spain's second national ballot this year and fourth in four years.
In recent elections, such early opinion polls carried out using a different methodology did not always give an accurate picture of the eventual results. Opinion polls ahead of the vote have consistently shown no single party winning a majority. The Socialists were pegged at just over 27% and poised to win between 114 and 119 seats, down from 123 they secured in the 350-seat house in April, according to GAD3.
The conservative People's Party (PP) was seen second with a projected 85-90 seats. In the most optimistic scenario for the left, it would get to a majority of 176 seats when adding various small regional parties and Catalan separatist lawmakers.
But such an alliance would represent the maximum of the polling range for each of the parties involved and would be very difficult to achieve after recent unrest in Catalonia. Sanchez called the election betting that a new vote would strengthen his Socialist Party's hand after failing to forge the alliances needed to form a government on the basis of the April election result.
Spain has struggled to put stable governments together since new parties emerged from the financial crisis, following decades during which power oscillated between the Socialists and the PP.
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