• Surveys show Rajoy’s People’s Party in lead, Podemos second
  • Socialist leader rules out supporting Rajoy as prime minister

Opinion polls a week ahead of Spain’s second election in six months suggested no single party will emerge as outright winner, leaving the task of stitching together a governing coalition still fraught with difficulty.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party is on 30 percent with the anti-establishment group Podemos second on 24.9 percent, according to an average of the last five polls published through Sunday night. Support from the PP has risen by almost a percentage point over the past week, while Podemos’s vote is unchanged. The Socialists rose 1 percentage point to 21.9 percent and pro-market Ciudadanos slipped to 14 percent from 15.1 percent.

Spain has been in political limbo since December when Podemos and Ciudadanos won almost 9 million votes in their first general election, breaking up the traditional duopoly of the PP and Socialists as voters rebelled against establishment corruption scandals and the fallout from the economic crisis. Podemos is set to displace the Socialists in second place after sealing an alliance with the former communists to pool the left-wing vote.

“There’s very little movement compared with the last election,” Fernando Vallespin, a professor of political science at the Autonomous University of Madrid, said in a telephone interview. “People have adapted mentally to a four-party system.”

The extra yield investors demand to hold Spanish 10-year bonds instead of similarly dated German bunds fell 11 basis points to 143 on Monday. It was 115 basis points before the December vote.

Calling All Moderates

Rajoy renewed his call for Spanish “moderates” to vote for the PP to stem the advance of Podemos and said he aims to lead a so-called grand coalition with the support of the Socialists after the election.

“I don’t see any other way,” he said in an interview with state broadcaster Television Espanola Monday.

In an interview with Onda Cero radio on Monday, Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez ruled out backing a PP government so long as Rajoy is in charge and played down the significance of Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias’s polling numbers.

“Iglesias won’t be prime minister,” Sanchez said. “The alternative is the Socialist project.”

Polls suggest the PP will gain one seat from December to 124 while Podemos may add 14 to 85. The Socialists are set to drop to 81 seats from 90 and Ciudadanos may slip to 38 from 40.

Podemos is still focused on maneuvering the Socialists into leading a progressive alliance, judging that over the long-run that would help it become the dominant force on the Spanish left.

“We’ll support a coalition government with Socialists, in which Sanchez is the prime minister,” Iglesias said in an interview with La Sexta television channel Sunday.

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