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This weekend Spain will elect a new lower and upper house in the general election to be held on Sunday, four months before the end of the current four-year parliamentary term. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called the election amid concerns over the economy. His Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) faces a strong challenge from the centre-right Popular Party (PP).

PSOE Banner NerjaAgainst a background of almost five million unemployed, cost of government borrowing hitting new highs, and a growth forecast of zero, it is not surprising that the Socialist Government is expected to be defeated. The conservative opposition Partido Popular led by Mariano Rajoy is riding high in the polls – promising to take the steps needed to restore international confidence in Spain, and turn the economy around.

Recycling Bin NerjaAn opinion poll published in the Spanish national daily newspaper El Mundo gives the PP 47.6 per cent of the vote, which could gain 198 seats in the 350-seat parliament, against 29.8 per cent and 112 seats for the Socialists. Other parties, including Catalan and Basque nationalists, account for the rest.

Here in Andalusia, a Socialist stronghold since the death of Franco and the return of democracy in the 1970s, the PP is expected to win about 34 seats against about 24 for the Socialists, a reversal of the outcome in the previous election in 2008.

In Nerja, the incumbent PP Mayor José Alberto Armijo was re-elected with an increased majority back in May. Foreign residents are not entitled to vote in Sundays elections.

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