The latest general election campaign began at midnight this Friday morning. Ahead lies just eight days of accelerated campaigning before the Sunday 10 November vote which will be preceded by the usual Saturday of reflection. The official period was cut short to spare boring the country, which is weary of general elections following last April's vote that failed to deliver a new government.
Political leaders were already on the unofficial campaign trail this week and reacting to the latest opinion polls. The last pre-election official voting forecast from state-owned pollsters, CIS, appeared to show acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez winning once again and increasing seats with his Socialist PSOE party in the 360-seat parliament from 123 to between 133 and 150. The conservative Partido Popular (PP) would increase slightly from 74 to 81 seats. However the biggest losers would be centrist Ciudadanos, dropping from 57 seats to between 27-35.
But the poll forecasts, which appeared to show overall victory for left-wing parties, were questioned, as other polls appeared to predict left and right-wing parties neck and neck. No poll has predicted an overall majority for a single party, meaning negotiation is likely to be needed again to secure a government after the 10 November vote.
The parties have been laying out their manifestoes this week. Of the two main parties, the PP is focusing on harsher control of the independence movement in Catalonia, as well as reducing taxation. For their part, the PSOE is advocating a new federal constitution for Spain as a way of softening Catalan separatist claims.
Meanwhile, acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, is being investigated by the Spanish electoral commission for using the official government residence of La Moncloa for a television interview with party political content, allegedly breaking electoral roles.