Campaigning for the election of Andalucía's regional parliament on Sunday 2 December kicked off at midnight last night (Thursday) as an opinion poll showed the PSOE Socialist party in the lead.
Today, Friday 16 November, is the first full day of official electioneering and during the campaign national political leaders are expected to descend on Malaga province to support their regional candidates. Malaga and the Costa de Sol are seen as a key battleground in the election of the Seville-based chamber for another four years.
The voting-intention survey this week was published by central-government-controlled official pollsters, CIS. It placed the PSOE, led by current president of the Junta de Andalucía regional government, Susana Díaz, on 37.41% of the vote. This would translate into 45-47 seats in the 155-seat regional parliament. The figure is broadly the same as the last election in 2015 and still not enough for an absolute majority.
Ciudadanos' vote may grow
Centrist Ciudadanos, whose decision not to keep supporting the minority PSOE forced Díaz to dissolve parliament and bring forward the election by three months, would see a big support increase, with 18.55% and 20-22 seats, more than double the nine it had in 2015.
The conservative PP party would just be ahead on 18.55%, the poll said, falling back from 33 to 20-22 seats.
At this election, the left-wing parties, Podemos and Izquierda Unida (IU), will campaign on a joint platform called Adelante Andalucía along with other small parties, and could come in second place on 19.34%.
The poll also highlighted the prospect of far-right newcomer, Vox, taking one seat.
Similar picture in Malaga
In Malaga province, which returns 17 of the 155 regional MPs to Seville, based on proportional representation, the party split could be very similar to 2015, with some fall-off in support for the PP to Ciudadanos.
The regional parliament oversees the Junta de Andalucía government, including large-spending departments such as health, education and social care under Spain's devolved regional system. The PSOE party has been in control for forty years since the regional parliament and government were first set up in 1978.