15 March 2004

Spanish election too close to call

Spain's conservative ruling Popular Party (PP) and opposition Socialist Party (PSOE) were neck and neck today after the close of polling in the general election, television and radio exit polls showed.

Reports variously gave the PP and PSOE between 38 and 41 per cent each, which would translate to 152-161 seats in the 350-seat parliament.

Two television stations, commercial channel Antena 3 and state-run TVE, gave the Socialists around 41 per cent of the vote.

Antena 3 predicted the PP had 38.5 per cent, whereas TVE estimated the ruling party had 36.9 per cent.

An Opina polling institute study for Radio Cadena Ser also gave the PSOE a larger vote share of between 40.5 per cent and 41.4 per cent.

But a Demoscopia poll for private broadcaster Telecinco gave the PP 40.6 per cent to 38.3 per cent for the Socialists.

The ruling PP took 44.52% of the vote in 2000. It follows the most favourable of these polls shows a swing of 3.0% against the PP. The voting system is d'Hondt which slightly favours the leading party. That's why in 2000 the PP took 183 seats out of 350 with 44.52% while the PSOE took 125 seats with 34.16%.

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