The day passed normally, while voting by mail registered record figures, close to two and a half million voters.
At 8:00 p.m., the polling stations in mainland Spain closed, and an hour later they will do so in the Canary Islands, after a day in which the country settles its future in early general elections that have summoned more than 37 million voters.
There are four nationally established parties that compete to achieve the top positions: the Socialist Party, with the current President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, as a candidate; the Popular Party (PP), with Alberto Nunez Feijoo to the head; the far-right force Vox, headed by Santiago Abascal; and Sumar, led by the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz.
Both Sanchez, as well as Feijoo, Abascal and Diaz, have gone to their polling stations during the morning and have attended the media to discuss the holding of the elections and encourage citizen participation.
Thanks to all of you who today make it possible for Spain to show what it is, an irreproachable democracy. I ask for the greatest mobilization so that the Government that comes out of the polls is strong and Spain can advance four more years. pic.twitter.com/nhBjsE6itz
— Pedro Sanchez (@sanchezcastejon) July 23, 2023
At 2:00 p.m., 40.48% of citizens had exercised their right to vote —more than 14 million people—, which represented an increase of 2.56% compared to the last elections of 2019.
However, four hours later, at 6:00 p.m., participation rose to 53.12%, with 3.73% less, an expected bump due to the unusual summer date, which has meant that the central hours of the day, the hottest, have been those with the least influx.
Normality and record of voting by mail
The day began marked by normality, with the constitution of 100% of the polling stationsa total of 60,314 throughout the territory, denying the omens that presaged that the summer holidays could lead to the absence of a good part of the members of the tables.
One of the peculiarities of this occasion has been the vote by mail, which has reached record numbers, bordering on two and a half millionTherefore, in many polling stations around 20% of voters have chosen this option in various regions, such as Madrid.
This postal vote will be computed from now on, once the polling stations are closed, when it will be entered one by one at the polls. Thus, it will be then when it is added to the participation data, which can make the final data exceed the 66.23% of four years ago.
An hour later, when the schools in the Canary Islands close, the first official data from the scrutiny will begin to be released, which around midnight will reach a percentage close to 100%.
The Popular Party, first in the polls
Since the elections were called, after the electoral debacle of the progressive forces in the municipal and regional elections on May 28, the polls have been favorable for the conservative Popular Party (PP), for which there is unanimity in placing the most voted force.
However, to achieve the inauguration as president of its leader, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, they need to add their seats to those of the extreme right of Vox and surpass the figure of 176 seats, of the 350 of which the Congress of Deputies is made up.
It is precisely this extreme that hangs by a thread and the one that gives suspense to an election night in which it will be revealed if Spain gives a turn to the right with a government of PP and Vox or if reissues a progressive coalition of the Socialist Party and Sumar supported by minority parties, as in the legislature that is now ending.