AP NEWS

Spain: Crisis in Catalonia dominates 5-way electoral debate

November 4, 2019 GMT
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From left to right: Popular Party candidate Pablo Casado, Socialist candidate Pedro Sanchez, Vox candidate Santiago Abascal, Unidos Podemos (United We Can) candidate Pablo Iglesias and Ciudadanos (Citizens) candidate Albert Rivera pose for the media prior the televised live debate ahead of Sunday's general election in Madrid, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
1 of 5
From left to right: Popular Party candidate Pablo Casado, Socialist candidate Pedro Sanchez, Vox candidate Santiago Abascal, Unidos Podemos (United We Can) candidate Pablo Iglesias and Ciudadanos (Citizens) candidate Albert Rivera pose for the media prior the televised live debate ahead of Sunday's general election in Madrid, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID (AP) — Five politicians aspiring to become Spain’s next prime minister are clashing over the future of the restive Catalonia region in a live debate ahead of Sunday’s general election.

Monday night’s prime-time debate is seen as the key to mobilizing undecided voters in the election, the country’s fourth since 2015.

The election was called by incumbent socialist leader Pedro Sánchez, who finished first in April voting but whose party fell short of winning a majority.

The political deadlock may not be resolved immediately. Recent polls show Sánchez’s Socialists losing steam while support grows for the conservative Popular Party and the far-right Vox party.

The campaign has been shortened to an unusually brief eight days to avoid spending excessive public funds.

Catalan separatism is the dominating issue in the run-up to Sunday’s vote.