Voters go to the polls today in Catalunya’s regional elections. Analysts say the predicted victory for the nationalists could strengthen Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Polls suggest the right-leaning CIU is likely to win most seats in the Catalan parliament, putting an end to three years of Socialist-led government.
But the CIU is not expected to have enough of a majority to govern alone, raising the possibility of several possible scenarios. A coalition with the socialists as junior partners could be on the cards, which could also secure support for Zapatero in the national parliament, where he relies on small, left wing parties for a majority. The election was dominated by the debate over immigration – the first time the issue has played a lead role in a major campaign in Spain.