Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has cast his vote in local elections that are expected to deliver a stinging blow to his ruling Socialist party.
Public anger over the handling of the economic crisis is high – and that is expected to benefit Mariano Rajoy’s centre-right opposition Popular Party, less than a year before the next general election.
It is scheduled for March 2012 but that date could be brought forward if government losses are particularly heavy as Spaniards elect around 8,000 city councils and 13 regional governments.
Some are predicting Socialist strongholds such as Castilla-la Mancha and Seville could fall.
The fiscal discipline that has been so widely praised abroad, could cost Zapatero very dear indeed at home.
Over the last week tens of thousands of Spaniards have demonstrated against austerity measures in several cities.
But many protesters camped out in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square say they have little faith in either of the country’s main parties.
They have also voted today – to maintain their camp for another week at least.