(Bloomberg) -- Spain’s leading opposition party is set to hand Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez a scathing defeat in a national election next month, according to a new opinion poll.
The conservative People’s Party would win 154 seats in parliament and would have a majority in the 350-member house by joining with far-right Vox, which stands to get 40 seats, according to a survey by polling firm Metroscopia. Sanchez’s Socialists would win 97 seats and would fall short of a majority even if joined by a group of far-left parties.
Sanchez called the surprise election last month after the PP crushed his Socialists in regional and municipal elections. PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo has said he would prefer to govern alone, but hasn’t publicly ruled out a coalition with Vox.
The far-left Podemos needs to decide by Friday if it will join an alliance of progressive parties called Sumar, a move seen as Sanchez’s only option — albeit a slim one — to hold onto power. Because Spain’s electoral system rewards larger parties, the coalition would win more seats if they run jointly.
“A single candidacy of the parties to the left of the Socialists would not be enough to avoid a majority of the PP and Vox,” according to the Metroscopia report, which didn’t detail the number of seats the far left could obtain if it runs on a single ticket. The report was distributed to corporate clients.
Metroscopia polled 3,000 people over the phone between May 29 and June 7, with a margin of error of 2.3%.
The Sanchez government has riled up executives and wealthier Spaniards by imposing windfall taxes on energy companies and banks as well as a wealth tax to help offset rising costs.
Spaniards haven’t been convinced by Sanchez’s stewardship of the economy, despite Spain outperforming most of its euro-area peers during the first part of the year. Sanchez pumped billions of euros into the economy to shield households and businesses from rising costs amid a surge in inflation.
Spain has also received more than 50% of the €69.6 billion ($74.9 billion) in grants allocated to it from the European Union’s pandemic-era recovery fund.
Feijoo has promised to cut taxes and slash the country’s soaring public obligations in a bid to highlight his business-friendly credentials.
Sanchez rose to power five years ago after stitching together an alliance of leftist and regional parties to win a no-confidence vote against his conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy. That was just one of a series of high-stakes gambits that have marked a political career that seemed over when he was ousted from the Socialist leadership in 2016 following a rebellion of some of his closest allies. Sanchez won the subsequent leadership contest against the party establishment’s nominee by touring the country to reach out to grassroots members.
Both Sanchez and Sumar leader Yolanda Diaz have highlighted conservative ties with Vox and Diaz has tried to rally the far left against the prospect of such a government, which she claims will reverse progressive laws that promote gender equality and minority rights.
Feijoo this week pledged that if he wins the election he’ll abolish a groundbreaking self-determination law that makes it easier for people over the age of 16 to legally change their gender. Vox has appealed against the law in the country’s top court, arguing it will allow men to use women’s bathrooms and make competitive sports unfair.
(Updates with background from the seventh paragraph.)
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