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The leaders of (left to right) PP, PSOE, Vox, Unidas Podemos and Ciudadanos line up to debate.
Final campaigning under way before this Sunday's general election

Final campaigning under way before this Sunday's general election

The eagerly awaited televised debate between five leaders on Monday was inconclusive and commentators believe it will be a hung parliament once again

NEIL HESKETH

Friday, 8 November 2019, 14:00

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The political parties are finishing off their national election campaigning today, 8 November, before an official day of reflection as usual tomorrow, Saturday, and then voting on Sunday.

The campaigning will have lasted just eight days, a shorter period as the country only went to the polls as recently as April, meaning there has been little time for major incidents or significant straying from campaign messages.

Causing most comment in Spain this week was the only televised debate between the leaders of the five main national parties, up from four last time. Unlike April, the debate on Monday included hard-right Vox's leader, Santiago Abascal, who was allowed to take part for the first time having won seats in the general election six months ago.

The response to the separatist crisis in Catalonia was a key theme of the debate, with parties on the left advocating more tolerance and the right-wing more intervention. Media commentators were divided over which of the five leaders did best.

One thing they did agree on was that the debate, and the campaign itself, hadn't really shifted public opinion and that Spain was heading for a hung parliament once again after Sunday's vote.

While the PSOE look sure to remain the biggest party but without an overall majority, the sum of the left-wing vote may have declined to more or less match the right-wing parties, according to latest polls.

The fresh election was called after the Socialist PSOE, under acting prime minster, Pedro Sánchez, failed to form a government. They had been the largest party after the April 28 vote but couldn't build support to get a majority of MPs to back them.

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