Socialist gain may mean early Spanish election

Spain may have early national elections this fall instead of on the scheduled spring date.

There may also be a major reshuffling in the Cabinet of Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo's centrist government.

The reason is the Socialist Workers' Party's stunning victory in the May 23 regional Andalusian elections.

The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), with 52.59 percent of the vote, easily obtained an absolute majority in the Andalusian autonomous parliament. The assembly is composed of 109 representatives from eight provinces.

The government center party, Union of the Democratic Center (UCD) lost as dramatically as the Socialists won, losing votes to both the Socialists on the left and to the conservatives of Popular Alliance (AP) on the right. The AP's 17 percent of the vote gave it second place over the UCD which received only 13.02 percent of the vote.

The Communist Party was another loser in the regional elections, dropping from 13.35 percent of the vote in the 1979 national elections to a mere 8.49 percent.

But Socialist leaders have been cautious in predicting similar national results in coming elections. Andalusia has traditionally voted more to the left than other regions.

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