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Galicians abroad could decide future of Franco-era leader

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Galicians abroad could decide future of Franco-era leader

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Final vote counting is underway in Spain in an election which could end the more than 20-year reign of a former close ally of General Franco, the late dictator.

The ballots being counted today in the Galician regional poll are those of expatriates living mainly in South America. With all domestic votes counted, Manuel Fraga’s Popular Party was on course to win 37 seats in the 75-seat regional parliament. Exit polls suggested the Socialists would have 25 seats and the BNG or Galician Nationalists at least 13. That would allow the Socialists and the BNG to form a governing coalition. The 82-year-old has been credited with modernising one of Spain’s poorest regions. But his credibility suffered in the Prestige oil disaster when large sections of the Galician coastline were polluted. The votes of some 300,000 Galicians living abroad will be crucial. Traditionally they support the Popular Party. A final result is expected later today.