THERE is expected to be a massive turn-out at polls throughout the Balearics today.
More than 687'000 people have the right to vote, although more than 9'500 live abroad and have the option of casting their vote by mail. Friday was the deadline for doing this. The polling booths will be open from 8am to 8pm, and according to government representative Miquel Ramis, the results will be known by 10pm and will be transmitted to Congress in Madrid. People will be electing eight deputies to represent the Balearics in the 350-seat Congress, one more than the last legislature, because of the increase in population. Leading the list of candidates for the Partido Popular (PP) is Maria Salom, whose main election promise was a reduction of taxes for more than 105'000 families in the Balearics. Former Balearic leader Francesc Antich heads the list of candidates for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). He has been campaigning for the young people's vote with a promise of security and a switch to a sustainable model of the economy. Both the PP and the PSOE have been wooing small traders.
This year there is a new coalition, which will be seeking at least one of the seats. The Majorcan Socialist Party (PSM), United Left-Greens (EU-EV) and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) have joined forces and their list of candidates is headed by Fernanda Ramon. The Majorcan Union (UM) is also fielding a list of candidates, headed by Josep Lliteres.
In addition to the deputies, voters will be electing three members of the Senate for Majorca, one for Minorca and one for Ibiza-Formentera.
Former Mayor of Palma Joan Fageda tops the list of candidates for the PP, while former finance minister Joan Mesquida is seeking election for the PSOE. More than 1'000 police and Guardia Civil officers will be on duty to ensure there are no problems at the 381 polling booths throughout the Balearics.
There will also be 1'058 representatives of the administration, and 3.174 people supervising the tables where votes are deposited. They were selected by a draw. In addition to this, political parties will have their own supervisors and representatives who will be on duty all day. Their main task is to ensure that there is no shortage of voting slips for their candidates, and to advise people on procedure, if necessary. The Spanish Red Cross volunteers will also be out in force. They have a fleet of specially adapted cars and ambulances which will be used to ferry the elderly and infirm from hospitals, homes and private homes, on request. During the last elections they helped 60 people and expect a similar number this year.
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