Election campaigning in Spain’s Basque and the Galicia regions has started to gather pace. In the north of Spain, polls show the ruling Basque nationalists led by Juan Jose Ibarretxe are slightly in front. The PNV has been in power for almost 30 years with Ibarretxe also seeking a fourth term.
But, hot on their heels is the region’s opposition socialists led by Patxi Lopez. Polls put them virtually neck and neck. Whoever wins, both will be forced to seek coalition partners. Two parties that won’t be taking part are D3M and Askatasuna. They were thrown out of the election after suspected links with ETA’s banned political arm Batasuna. There future will be decided on Monday. In addition, to the elections in the Basque country, Galicia is also holding regional elections on March 1st. Galicia’s current socialist president Emilio Perez Tourino looks set to be re-elected. The latest polls put him ahead of his Popular Party rival Alberto Nunez Feijoo. Despite fears the country’s economic woes could play into the PP’s hands, Spain’s conservative opposition has been hit by a series of corruption and spying scandals.