Spain's centre-right People's Party is set to win a regional election in Andalucia on March 25, according to opinion polls on Sunday, sealing control of nearly all the country's 17 regions.
The Metroscopia poll published in left-leaning newspaper El Pais showed the People's Party, or PP, winning 47.3 percent of the vote in the southern region of Andalucia, toppling the last Socialist stronghold in Spain.
Unemployment of 31 percent and a scandal over allegedly fraudulent severance payments from a public fund have turned voters away from the Socialists, who have ruled in the autonomous Andalucia region for the past 30 years.
A Sigma Dos poll published in right-leaning daily El Mundo showed the People's Party winning 45.8 percent of the vote and between 54 and 57 seats in the Andalucian parliament. It needs 55 seats for an absolute majority there.
Spain, under pressure to reduce its public deficit, is expected to embark on sensitive austerity measures, including cuts in health and education spending in its autonomous regions, as soon as it clears the election hurdle in Andalucia.
So far, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has announced a 40 percent reduction in infrastructure spending and other investment, a 12 percent cut in spending at central government ministries and layoffs and salary cuts of up to 30 percent at public companies.
The independent City Press on Sunday said the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) was on the verge of charging the minister in a case dating back to the time he headed the country's tax collecting agency.
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