European elections: The official election campaign starts today in Spain.

In Spain all election campaigns have an official starting and closing date. Before this date, political parties are not allowed to put up posters or hold public meetings. Official campaigns traditionally begin on the evening of the first day, when candidates take part in putting up the first posters and from then onwards until the day before elections, “reflection day“, the election campaign is considered to be officially under way.

This year for the first time in 8 years, the two main political parties have agreed to organize televised debates between their candidates. When in was still in the opposition, the Socialist party protested strongly at the refusal of the Popular Party leaders to participate in televised debates which would have enabled other candidates to challenge the PP government’s most controversial policies. It will be interesting to see what sort of impact (in terms of viewer numbers) the televised debates receive during this campaign.

According to a survey published by the Cadena Ser today, the socialists start the campaign with an advantage of eight points over the Popular Party although a high 45% do not reveal their vote in the survey. This suggests that there may be a high level of abstentions in the European elections in Spain (as in other European countries). In the last European elections more than 35% of the electorate decided not to vote..

Yesterday in an interview the PSOE candidate, Josep Borrell, said that his main adversary in these elections was the possibility of electorate apathy, and he appealed to Spaniards to vote in the elections. A high turnout of voters usually favours the Socialist Party (as indeed was the case in the general elections in March).