THE POPULAR PARTY’S candidate for prime minister, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, on Thursday pledged to prohibit general elections from taking place in the summer months of July or August should he take office.
July and August elections, he said, would only be held ‘in cases of extraordinary urgency or necessity’.
He also called on Spaniards to turn out to vote on Sunday ‘despite all of the difficulties and despite all of the heat’.
Feijoo is expected to win most votes at the polls but fall short of a majority. A coalition with far-right Vox is the likeliest possibility for a government to be formed.
Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called this Sunday’s polls after his party and other leftist groups fared particularly badly at the May 28 local and regional elections.
The choice of the date however, July 23, has been widely criticised given that many Spaniards will be on vacation.
The poll marks the first time that Spaniards have had to cast their ballots in the summer since the country returned to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
The summer date has prompted a record number of people to request postal votes, something that has put the state Correos postal service under strain and required extra staff to be drafted in.
The elections have also caused problems for citizens who have been randomly selected to man the polling booths. This is an obligatory service that can carry the risk of a prison sentence for those who avoid it.