26/06/2016 11:24 PM AEST | Updated 27/06/2016 11:46 PM AEST

Spain Votes In Parliamentary Elections As Far-Left Set To Rise

The anti-austerity Podemos party could make big gains on Sunday.

Andrea Comas / Reuters
Podemos (We Can) leader Pablo Iglesias (L) and Izquierda Unida (United Left) leader Alberto Garzon.

MADRID, June 26 (Reuters) - Spain's two biggest left-wing parties, the Unidos Podemos alliance and the Socialist party, could come close to clinching an absolute majority together in a Sunday's parliamentary election, several exit polls showed.

Unidos Podemos ("Together We Can"), a coalition of several leftist parties led by anti-austerity newcomer Podemos were seen winning 87 to 95 seats, and the Socialists 81 to 86 seats.

Together they would have more than the 176 seats needed for an absolute majority, the exit polls from state broadcaster TVE and the ABC newspaper and Cope radio station showed.

The conservative People's Party (PP) of acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was seen winning the most seats overall with 117 to 124. It won 123 seats last year.

Liberal party Ciudadanos, a natural ally for the PP, was expected to come fourth once again with 26 to 32 seats, down sharply from 40 seats six months ago, the exit polls showed.


Bloomberg/Getty Images
Mariano Rajoy, Spain's acting Prime Minister, casts his ballot in the Spanish general election in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday, June 26, 2016

A third combination, a grand coalition between the PP and the Socialists would also be possible as it would reach 198 to 210 seats, according to the polls.

After six months of bickering, parties have pledged to reach a coalition deal quickly this time although the results may also produce a new stalemate as the Socialists said before the vote they were not ready to back a government led by either Podemos or the PP.