Following the trend that has been seen across Europe in the Parliamentary elections, Spanish voters turned yesterday towards the right-wing Partido Popular (PP), giving the party 23 seats in contrast to the 21 won by the Spanish Socialist party led by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The PP benefitted from the fact that there was higher turnout in areas that traditionally vote for them, including Madrid and Valencia (and apparently showing that recent scandals over corruption and spying amongst the local PP groups in these autonomous communities has not had a negative knock-on effect for the voter), while in more socialist regions, including Catalunya, the turnout was relatively low. In total, the participation was 46 percent. The leader of the PP, Mariano Rajoy, declared that the result signalled the fact that the Spanish electorate are looking for change, and he predicted his party would win the next general election, although that isn't due to take place until 2012. The Socialist party took some comfort in the fact that, compared to other countries including France and the UK, where voters gave a strong advantage to right-wing parties, here the Socialists suffered a relatively small defeat.
In Catalunya, the Catalan Socialist party was victorious, but with a depleted number of seats and votes compared to five years ago, while Convergencia i Unió moved into second place, ahead of the Partido Popular, and was the most voted-for party in the Girona and Lleida areas (article in Catalan, Avui). In comparison, the three members of the governing tripartit - Catalan Socialists, Esquerra Republicana and Iniciative per Catalunya Verds - all lost votes, in what can be perceived as a similar message from the electorate to those currently holding the reins of power as in Spain at large.
This weekend saw 10 people die in traffic accidents on the roads of Catalunya, one of the worst figures in recent months (article in Castilian, El Periodico). Five people died in accidents on highways and motorways, four of which as a result as head-on collisions, while the other half died as a result of incidents in towns. The director of the Catalan Traffic Department (Servei Català de Transit), Josep Pérez Moya, said that the weekend had been a "disaster", especially considering that the number of fatalities on Catalan roads over the previous weeks had been relatively low—the previous four weekends had seen a total of three deaths altogether.