Campaigning for the first Spanish general elections in 41 years came to an official end on Monday night (June 13), with the major final rallies taking place over the weekend.
SCU Basque socialist supporters singing at indoor rally, Bilbao, Spain
SV AND CU Speaker addressing rally (2 shots)
CU Supporter applauding
GV Crowd responding to chant from platform
GV Supporters singing and waving fists
GVs Crowds waving banners and flags and chanting at Basque separatist indoor rally, Bilbao, Spain (2 shots)
SV Spanish Communist Party Secretary-General Santiago Carrillo arriving at outdoor rally, Torrelodones, and supporters cheering
GV Crowd with umbrellas
SV Carrillo addressing rally PAN TO GV crowd listening, AND GV crowd chanting in response (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Madrid post office - sacks of postal votes being sorted
SV AND CU Worker sorting individual votes (3 shots)
GV PAN Workers sorting out votes
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Background: Campaigning for the first Spanish general elections in 41 years came to an official end on Monday night (June 13), with the major final rallies taking place over the weekend. Polling day is Wednesday (June 15), with 23 million voters eligible to take part in the election of a new Cortes, or parliament.
SYNOPSIS: In the recently-troubled Basque region, socialist supporters staged their final rally indoors to avoid possible confrontation with police in the streets. Tension in the turbulent separatist area has eased a little in recent weeks following the release of almost all Basque political prisoners by the Government, and police activity in the streets of Basque towns has become noticeably less. Nevertheless, while confining their activities indoors, Basque nationalist fervour has been at a high pitch. One socialist leader told a crowded rally that the release of political prisoners in itself was due to the determination of the Basque people to protest against brutality, and the unjust attitude of the central Government towards Basque rights.
Other speakers got warm applause for calling for total Basque independence.
The largest rally of all was staged by the Communist party. They came from all over Spain to Torrelodones, 20 miles (32 kilometres) outside Madrid, to make it the biggest-ever political gathering since the end of the civil war 38 years ago -- all 200-thousand of them, despite torrential rain which turned the area into a muddy morass. And the biggest cheers of all were for Communist Party Secretary-General Santiago Carrillo.
Senor Carrillo told the crowd that the gathering in itself was the most powerful and clamerous vote possible for the Spanish Communist Party, and for freedom and democracy.
Meanwhile, postal votes from out-lying areas and overseas citizens were pouring in to a central sorting office in Madrid. By Saturday, more than 100-thousand had arrived, with overseas votes still coming. But meanwhile, criticisms were being levelled at overseas embassasies for not promoting postal votes. The accusations came mainly from the left wing, which claims a large percentage of Spaniards abroad are their supporters, living in forced exile.