EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Spain's May 26th triple ballot

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EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Spain's May 26th triple ballot
Photo: AFP

Yes, it's true. No sooner has Spain put one election behind it then another is on the horizon. What's it all about? Matthew Bennett has all the answers.


So did I read that ANOTHER election campaign has just started in Spain?

You did. Last night.

Spain is having ANOTHER ballot?

It is. On May 26.

Which one this time?

Three, not one: local elections, European elections and regional elections all on the same day.

So four big ballots within a month?


Is that normal?

Nope, apart from 1979, they have never been so close together. Local and general elections did not even happen in the same year again until 2011, then 2015 and now this year, but in 2011 and 2015, the local ballot preceded the general one by six or seven months, the local vote in May, the general ballots in November or December.

Is every Spanish region voting?

Not quite. In 12 out of the 17 Spanish regions: Aragón, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Castilla la Mancha, Extremadura, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, La Rioja.

The last regional elections in the other five regions were held in Andalusia (December 2018), the Basque Country (September 2016), Catalonia (December 2017), Galicia (September 2016) or Valencia (April 2019)

Does the system work in the same way for the three types of elections?

No. The European elections are a single national constituency, and the parties that take the most votes nationally get the most MEPs.

Regional parliaments have different numbers of regional MPs too: anywhere between 33 in La Rioja and 135 in Catalonia.

In the local elections, towns and villages are allotted a number of councillors based on the number of inhabitants: from 3 councillors for villages of 100 people up to 25 or above for cities that have more than 100,000 residents.

Madrid City Hall, for example, has 57, Barcelona City Hall 41, Málaga 31, or Murcia 29.

In local elections, a party must obtain more than 5% of the vote to get any councillors.

Can EU citizens resident in Spain vote in the local and European elections?


Who is going to win?

Hmmm, good question. The only survey we have so far is the national publicly-funded CIS survey, which just released some data, but the field work was done before the general election.

Oh, so it doesn't take the results from April 28th into account?


Never mind. What does it say about who might win?

In the 12 regional elections, the survey says the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) will win in 11, everywhere except Navarra.

In the European elections, the survey says the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) will get the most seats.

In five big cities surveyed, the leading parties are slated to be: Más Madrid (Madrid), En Comú Podem (Barcelona), the Popular Party (PP, Zaragoza), the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE, Sevilla) and Compromís (Valencia).

With the possible exception of the PSOE in the regional ballot in Castilla la Mancha, in no case surveyed, however—either in the other 11 regions or the five big cities—does any of the leading parties win with a majority, so deals will have to be done afterwards.

What about Vox?

Vox was over-hyped at the general election last month but managed 24 seats from zero in 2016, after 2.7 million Spaniards voted for them, 10.26 percent of the vote.

In the CIS survey, the party is given up to 9 percent of the vote for the European election, from 2.3% (La Rioja) to 9.9 percent (Murcia) in the regional elections, and from 1.9 percent (Barcelona) to 7.7 percent (Valencia) in the five big cities.

READ MORE: The maps that tell the story of how Spain voted

Matthew Bennett is the creator of The Spain Report. You can read more of his writing on Patreon, and follow him on Twitter. Don't miss his podcast series with weekly in-depth analysis on Spain.



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