Spain Votes- Despite Economic Woes Socialists Win Elections
** Despite the worst unemployment in a century the ruling Socialists are winning the elections.
The Catholic Church of Spain urged members in February not to vote for candidates that support appeasing terrorists.
Nuns search for the correct place to vote during Spain’s general elections in the northern town of Burgos, Spain on Sunday, March 9, 2008. Spaniards voted Sunday after an often-bitter general election campaign dominated by a cooling economy and concerns over immigration and jolted by a last-minute killing by suspected Basque separatists. (AP Photo/Israel L. Murillo)
Spain’s 35 million voters are deciding whether to return the ruling Socialists to power in general elections.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s party faces Mariano Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP).
By 1300 GMT, after five hours of voting, turnout was slightly less than 40%, Spain’s Interior Ministry said.
The polls have been marred by Friday’s killing of the former Socialist councillor, Isaias Carrasco, in the Basque Country.
Police have blamed Basque separatists for the shooting, which brought election campaigning to an early close, but so far no group has claimed responsibility.
The latest turnout figure is about two points lower than at the same point in the 2004 poll.
The horrible economic numbers may hurt the ruling socialists:
The faltering economy, rising inflation and unemployment, and immigration have all been high-profile campaign issues.
After a decade of good growth, Spain’s economy is stuttering. Inflation is at a 10-year high and unemployment is the highest this century.
The Spanish housing boom is dwindling, exacerbated by the global credit crunch.
Spanish Pundit has been following the election news in Spain:
Barcepundit posted this nifty election counter and is following the vote today:
(At 11:00 AM CST those are the 2004 results posted at the counter not the 2008 numbers.)
You may have to refresh the page to see the chart clearly.
Here’s another page tracking the results.
John Chappell at Pajamas Media has pre-election analysis.
Mid-afternoon numbers show that turnout is only slightly lower than in 2004.
UPDATE 2: Spanish Pundit calls it for the Socialists.
UPDATE 3: (4:10 CST) Socialists 169, PP 152. (64% of vote counted)
UPDATE 4: (4:10 CST) Socialists 168, PP 154. (71% of vote counted)
UPDATE 5: (6:45 PM CST) Socialists 169, PP 154. (98% of vote counted)
UPDATE 6: (Monday morning) Barcepundit explains what this all means for Spain.