by Max Barry

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Region: Greater Middle East


    |El PaŪs - Madrid |
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      Socialists seen winning most seats in European election

        Spainís Socialists were seen winning the most seats in European Parliament elections on May 26, followed by the conservative Peopleís Party (PP), according to a poll by GAD3 published by ABC newspaper on Monday. Spainís Socialists, which won a national election on April 28 without a parliamentary majority, were seen winning 20 seats in the upcoming election, or 30.3% of the vote. That would be six more seats than in the 2014 EU election. New far-right party Vox was seen winning its first representatives in the European parliament after winning its first seats in the national parliament last month. With 7.8% of the vote, Vox would get five seats in the EU assembly according to the poll, the first major survey carried out since the national election. PP would be second, but with its number of seats dropping from 16 to 12, after it lost more than half its seats in the national election. The center-right Ciudadanos would see its number of lawmakers jump from 2 to 10. The poll of 830 people surveyed between May 3 and May 6 also showed right-wing and left-wing coalitions would win the same percentage of votes in municipal elections also due May 26. The poll did not spell out which municipalities they could win.

          Catalan jailed MPs attend Spain parliament opening

        Four of whom are lower-house MPs and one is a senator. The Spanish parliament has not witnessed such an event before. The four MPs swore to uphold the Spanish constitution, but called the oath "a legal obligation" and demanded freedom for "political prisoners". As they spoke, far-right and right-wing MPs shouted and hammered on benches. Reporters say the noise - mostly from far-right Vox MPs - drowned out the Catalans' oaths.The parliamentary authorities are expected to suspend the four Catalan separatist MPs, urged to do so by the conservative Popular Party (PP) and centre-right Ciudadanos. The four MPs - Josep Rull, Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sŗnchez, Jordi Turull - and senator RaŁl Romeva are on trial for taking part in Catalonia's push for independence in 2017. The Spanish Supreme Court decision to let them take up their seats in parliament under police escort was condemned by Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, a fugitive in Belgium. They won seats in the Spanish general election on 28 April, in which the Socialists came top, but without a majority. A dozen leaders of Catalonia's failed 2017 independence bid are on trial in Madrid, facing charges including rebellion and sedition. If convicted, some could face up to 25 years in prison. The semi-autonomous region of Catalonia held an independence referendum on 1 October 2017, which Madrid had earlier declared to be illegal. The Catalan separatists declared independence from Spain weeks after the vote, and the Madrid government then imposed direct rule. Spain's 1978 constitution speaks of "the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation". The Catalonia crisis is considered the most serious to hit Spain since the fascist Franco era. Mr Puigdemont and five of his aides fled abroad to avoid the Spanish judicial crackdown. They face prison if they return to Spain.