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35 Million Spaniards go to the polls

Sun 20th Nov 2011
35 Million Spaniards go to the polls

Over 35 million Spanish voters will go to the polls on Sunday for an election expected to result the support of a new conservative government.

Recent opinion polls suggest that the center-right People's Party, led by Mariano Rajoy, has a clear lead over the ruling Socialist Party, led by Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.

The current Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, decided not to stand for re-election as the socialist PSOE party candidate.

Although 35 Million Spanish citizens are eligable to vote, some 671,599 registered to submit their voting papers by post in time for their vote to count in the ballot.

However, ballot papers had to be received by the General Electoral Commitee by Thursday of last week, by which time 13% of the voting papers - 87307, had not even been delivered to the intended recipient, meaning that their vote would not be counted.

The PP's request that the deadline be extended to the end of business on Friday to allow for more papers to be processed was rejected.

Although Correo were initially blamed for the problem, the delay was caused by the constitutional courts. Because a number of candidates previously affiliated to outlawed political parties had requested to stand they need to seek permission from the courts. In many cases, permissions were only given over recent days, which provided the printers of the voting slips insufficient time to supply Correos with the documentation on schedule.

However, as of the close of Thursday, 420'000 postal votes had returned their slips, meaning that 164'292 of those who had received their papers on time, had either not returned them, or had not been received by the GEC.

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