May 6, 2016 / 10:56 AM / 3 years ago

Podemos seen losing support ahead of Spanish election

Podemos (We Can) party leader Pablo Iglesias speaks during a news conference at the parliament in Madrid, Spain, April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos is seen losing support ahead of a general election repeat on June 26, a closely watched official survey showed on Friday, although the vote will remain highly fragmented and likely result in a new hung parliament.

Despite five months of talks between political parties after a December election resulting in a failure to form a government, voters would not revert to the two-party system that has dominated Spain’s political life for the last 40 years and would split their vote between 10 parties, according to the poll.

Podemos would capture 17.7 percent of the votes against 20.6 percent in the December election, while the conservative People’s Party of acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would win the ballot with 27.4 percent, down from 28.7 percent.

The Socialists would place second with 21.6 percent, also down from 22.01 percent, and liberal Ciudadanos would come in fourth place with 15.6 percent, up from 13.93 percent.

This means that three parties, potentially more, would be needed to reach an absolute majority in the Spanish parliament and form a stable government.

Several factors could however alter this situation and help break the current deadlock, the poll showed.

Abstention, already one of the highest on record in December, is expected to rise with 27.4 percent of voters saying they are undecided or are likely to stay home compared to 24.5 percent in a previous survey in January.

Meanwhile, a potential tie-up between Podemos and former communists United Left, currently under discussion, would jointly obtain 23.1 percent of the votes thus becoming the main left-wing force ahead of the Socialists.

The survey was carried out on 2,500 people in early April before it became clear that a new election would be called.

Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Paul Day and Dominic Evans

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