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Karl Stefanovic ‘desperate’ to return to the Today show to ‘save’ it from it’s declining ratings

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Karl Stefanovic is ‘desperate’ to return to the Today show to ‘save’ it from its declining ratings, according to friends of the Channel Nine star.

The 45-year-old is said to be ‘confident’ as he prepares to return to the breakfast program, after Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight were axed over the weekend.

A source told New Idea: ‘That ego of his is still at an all-time high as per usual.’

'Knight in shining armour': Karl Stefanovic is 'desperate' to return to the Today show to 'save' it from its declining ratings, according to friends of the Channel Nine star

'Knight in shining armour': Karl Stefanovic is 'desperate' to return to the Today show to 'save' it from its declining ratings, according to friends of the Channel Nine star

‘Knight in shining armour’: Karl Stefanovic is ‘desperate’ to return to the Today show to ‘save’ it from its declining ratings, according to friends of the Channel Nine star 

‘He sees himself like a knight in shining armour riding in to save the day,’ added the insider. 

‘He’s desperate to return to save the show from its all-time low ratings.’

Karl recently told Nova 96.9’s Fitzy & Wippa that he is Nine’s ‘lucky charm’ and is ‘ready to go in’ and help boost ratings. 

'He sees himself like a knight in shining armour riding in to save the day,' a source told New Idea. Pictured: Karl and Georgie Gardner (right) on the Today show last year

'He sees himself like a knight in shining armour riding in to save the day,' a source told New Idea. Pictured: Karl and Georgie Gardner (right) on the Today show last year

‘He sees himself like a knight in shining armour riding in to save the day,’ a source told New Idea. Pictured: Karl and Georgie Gardner (right) on the Today show last year

Back in the saddle! Over the weekend, Nine confirmed that Karl (right) will be returning to the Today show in 2020, alongside new co-host Allison Langdon (left)

Back in the saddle! Over the weekend, Nine confirmed that Karl (right) will be returning to the Today show in 2020, alongside new co-host Allison Langdon (left)

Back in the saddle! Over the weekend, Nine confirmed that Karl (right) will be returning to the Today show in 2020, alongside new co-host Allison Langdon (left) 

It comes after Nine confirmed that Karl will be returning to the Today show in 2020, alongside new co-host Allison Langdon.  

Karl was originally axed from the program while on his honeymoon with wife Jasmine Yarbrough last December. 

Meanwhile, Georgie has left Today with immediate effect and was absent from Monday’s episode. 

Co-host Deborah and newsreader Tom Steinfort gave her a rather awkward send-off shortly before 6am.

Boned! Meanwhile, Georgie Gardner has left Today with immediate effect and was absent from Monday's episode. Co-anchor Deborah Knight (right) and newsreader Tom Steinfort (left) gave her a rather awkward send-off shortly before 6am

Boned! Meanwhile, Georgie Gardner has left Today with immediate effect and was absent from Monday's episode. Co-anchor Deborah Knight (right) and newsreader Tom Steinfort (left) gave her a rather awkward send-off shortly before 6am

Boned! Meanwhile, Georgie Gardner has left Today with immediate effect and was absent from Monday’s episode. Co-anchor Deborah Knight (right) and newsreader Tom Steinfort (left) gave her a rather awkward send-off shortly before 6am

‘We wanted to acknowledge our colleague and friend, Georgie Gardner,’ began Deborah, who has also been axed but won’t leave the show until the end of the year.

‘You might have read over the weekend that Georgie has left the show. After a really challenging year, we want to wish Georgie all the very best.’ 

Tom added: ‘She has been a committed and passionate member of the team here. I think particularly when she’s been sharing the stories of everyday Australians who are doing it tough. These are issues that she wanted to focus on.  

‘She has always been a woman of strength here, a woman of class – and also who could forget that very wicked sense of humour that would just pop up from time to time as well?’

Deborah then reflected on Today’s declining ratings since Georgie replaced Lisa Wilkinson as Karl’s co-host in early 2018. 

Not popular: Georgie Gardner (pictured) oversaw a period of significant ratings decline as host of the Today show

Not popular: Georgie Gardner (pictured) oversaw a period of significant ratings decline as host of the Today show

Not popular: Georgie Gardner (pictured) oversaw a period of significant ratings decline as host of the Today show 

‘She gave it a red hot go,’ said Deborah.

‘For now though, Georgie is enjoying the time with her family, friends, taking Wilbur the dog [for a walk] and we look forward to seeing you on our screens again soon.’

On Friday, Georgie’s final episode of Today delivered 191,000 metro viewers.

This marked a significant boost from the record low of 155,000 metro viewers the show had reached earlier this month. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel Nine and Karl’s manager for comment.

All in the numbers: On Friday, Georgie's final episode of Today delivered 191,000 metro viewers. This marked a significant boost from the record low of 155,000 metro viewers the show had reached earlier this month

All in the numbers: On Friday, Georgie's final episode of Today delivered 191,000 metro viewers. This marked a significant boost from the record low of 155,000 metro viewers the show had reached earlier this month

All in the numbers: On Friday, Georgie’s final episode of Today delivered 191,000 metro viewers. This marked a significant boost from the record low of 155,000 metro viewers the show had reached earlier this month

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Spain’s far-Right party DOUBLES its seats as ruling Socialists left further from forming majority

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Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists won Spain’s national election on Sunday but large gains by the upstart far-right Vox party appear certain to widen the political deadlock in the European Union’s fifth-largest economy.

After a fourth national ballot in as many years and the second in less than seven months, the left-wing Socialists held on as the leading power in the National Parliament.

With 99 per cent of the votes counted, the Socialists won 120 seats, down three seats from the last election in April and still far from the absolute majority of 176 needed to form a government alone.

The big political shift came as right-wing voters flocked to Vox, which only had broken into Parliament in the spring for the first time.

The far-right party led by 43-year-old Santiago Abascal, who speaks of ‘reconquering’ Spain in terms that echo the medieval wars between Christian and Moorish forces, rocketed from 24 to 52 seats. 

That will make Vox the third leading party in the Congress of Deputies and give it much more leverage in forming a government and crafting legislation. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's (pictured in Madrid) Socialists won Spain's national election on Sunday but large gains by the upstart far-right Vox party appear certain to widen the political deadlock in the European Union's fifth-largest economy

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's (pictured in Madrid) Socialists won Spain's national election on Sunday but large gains by the upstart far-right Vox party appear certain to widen the political deadlock in the European Union's fifth-largest economy

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s (pictured in Madrid) Socialists won Spain’s national election on Sunday but large gains by the upstart far-right Vox party appear certain to widen the political deadlock in the European Union’s fifth-largest economy

After a fourth national ballot in as many years and the second in less than seven months, the left-wing Socialists held on as the leading power in the National Parliament. Pictured: Scenes in Madrid

After a fourth national ballot in as many years and the second in less than seven months, the left-wing Socialists held on as the leading power in the National Parliament. Pictured: Scenes in Madrid

After a fourth national ballot in as many years and the second in less than seven months, the left-wing Socialists held on as the leading power in the National Parliament. Pictured: Scenes in Madrid 

With 99 per cent of the votes counted, the Socialists (pictured, supporters in Madrid) won 120 seats, down three seats from the last election in April and still far from the absolute majority of 176 needed to form a government alone

With 99 per cent of the votes counted, the Socialists (pictured, supporters in Madrid) won 120 seats, down three seats from the last election in April and still far from the absolute majority of 176 needed to form a government alone

With 99 per cent of the votes counted, the Socialists (pictured, supporters in Madrid) won 120 seats, down three seats from the last election in April and still far from the absolute majority of 176 needed to form a government alone

The big political shift came as right-wing voters flocked to Vox, which only had broken into Parliament in the spring for the first time. Pictured: Pedro Sanchez (centre) speaks to supporters about the general election result outside party HQ in Madrid

The big political shift came as right-wing voters flocked to Vox, which only had broken into Parliament in the spring for the first time. Pictured: Pedro Sanchez (centre) speaks to supporters about the general election result outside party HQ in Madrid

The big political shift came as right-wing voters flocked to Vox, which only had broken into Parliament in the spring for the first time. Pictured: Pedro Sanchez (centre) speaks to supporters about the general election result outside party HQ in Madrid

The far-right party led by 43-year-old Santiago Abascal (pictured), who speaks of 'reconquering' Spain in terms that echo the medieval wars between Christian and Moorish forces, rocketed from 24 to 52 seats

The far-right party led by 43-year-old Santiago Abascal (pictured), who speaks of 'reconquering' Spain in terms that echo the medieval wars between Christian and Moorish forces, rocketed from 24 to 52 seats

The far-right party led by 43-year-old Santiago Abascal (pictured), who speaks of ‘reconquering’ Spain in terms that echo the medieval wars between Christian and Moorish forces, rocketed from 24 to 52 seats

The party has vowed to be much tougher on both Catalan separatists and migrants.

Abascal called his party’s success ‘the greatest political feat seen in Spain.’

‘Just 11 months ago, we weren’t even in any regional legislature in Spain. Today we are the third-largest party in Spain and the party that has grown the most in votes and seats,’ said Abascal, who promised to battle the ‘progressive dictatorship.’

Right-wing populist and anti-migrant leaders across Europe celebrated Vox’s strong showing.

Marine Le Pen, who heads France’s National Rally party, congratulated Abascal, saying it was impressive how his work ‘is already bearing fruit after only a few years.’

In Italy, Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party tweeted a picture of himself next to Abascal with the text ‘Congratulations to Vox!’ above Spanish and Italian flags. 

And in the Netherlands, anti-Islam Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders also posted a picture of himself and Abascal and wrote ‘FELICIDADES’ – Spanish for congratulations – with three thumbs-up emojis.

Sunday’s results means there will be no end to the stalemate between forces on the right and the left in Spain, suggesting the country could go many more weeks or even months without a new government.

Spain's socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the fourth general election in as many years after his party failed to get enough seats in parliament to gain a working majority

Spain's socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the fourth general election in as many years after his party failed to get enough seats in parliament to gain a working majority

Santiago Abascal, leader of far-right Vox Party

Santiago Abascal, leader of far-right Vox Party

Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (left) called the fourth general election in as many years after his party failed to get enough seats in parliament to gain a working majority. He is up against Santiago Abascal, leader of far-right Vox Party 

A survey by Spain's public broadcaster released as the polls closed says the ruling Socialists are en route to win the country's second election this year but will be even further from putting together a parliamentary majority. Pictured: General Secretary of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias (centre) and spokeswoman of Unidas Podemos Irene Montero (left) arrives to electoral night in Madrid

A survey by Spain's public broadcaster released as the polls closed says the ruling Socialists are en route to win the country's second election this year but will be even further from putting together a parliamentary majority. Pictured: General Secretary of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias (centre) and spokeswoman of Unidas Podemos Irene Montero (left) arrives to electoral night in Madrid

A survey by Spain’s public broadcaster released as the polls closed says the ruling Socialists are en route to win the country’s second election this year but will be even further from putting together a parliamentary majority. Pictured: General Secretary of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias (centre) and spokeswoman of Unidas Podemos Irene Montero (left) arrives to electoral night in Madrid

The RTVE survey, which polled more than 13,000 voters between October 25 and Sunday's ballot, signalled that Spain may run into another political stalemate. In April, the Socialists won 123 seats in the parliament's lower house, 53 seats short of a majority. Pictured: Officials count ballots at a polling station in Ronda

The RTVE survey, which polled more than 13,000 voters between October 25 and Sunday's ballot, signalled that Spain may run into another political stalemate. In April, the Socialists won 123 seats in the parliament's lower house, 53 seats short of a majority. Pictured: Officials count ballots at a polling station in Ronda

The RTVE survey, which polled more than 13,000 voters between October 25 and Sunday’s ballot, signalled that Spain may run into another political stalemate. In April, the Socialists won 123 seats in the parliament’s lower house, 53 seats short of a majority. Pictured: Officials count ballots at a polling station in Ronda

Polls in the Canary Islands remain open for another hour. Local authorities of small town in northeastern Spain say that police have arrested a man who was carrying a pistol in a polling station in Sunday's national election. Pictured: The number two of ERC to the Parliament by Barcelona, Gabriel Rufian (first from left), and Pere Aragones

Polls in the Canary Islands remain open for another hour. Local authorities of small town in northeastern Spain say that police have arrested a man who was carrying a pistol in a polling station in Sunday's national election. Pictured: The number two of ERC to the Parliament by Barcelona, Gabriel Rufian (first from left), and Pere Aragones

Polls in the Canary Islands remain open for another hour. Local authorities of small town in northeastern Spain say that police have arrested a man who was carrying a pistol in a polling station in Sunday’s national election. Pictured: The number two of ERC to the Parliament by Barcelona, Gabriel Rufian (first from left), and Pere Aragones

Amposta Mayor Adam Tomas said the 70-year-old man was carrying the weapon in a bag and was arrested when he refused to show it police officers inside the polling station in the town in the region of Catalonia. Pictured: The head of the list of PSOE to the Parliament by Barcelona, Meritxell Batet voting

Amposta Mayor Adam Tomas said the 70-year-old man was carrying the weapon in a bag and was arrested when he refused to show it police officers inside the polling station in the town in the region of Catalonia. Pictured: The head of the list of PSOE to the Parliament by Barcelona, Meritxell Batet voting

Amposta Mayor Adam Tomas said the 70-year-old man was carrying the weapon in a bag and was arrested when he refused to show it police officers inside the polling station in the town in the region of Catalonia. Pictured: The head of the list of PSOE to the Parliament by Barcelona, Meritxell Batet voting

As of 6pm, 56.86 per cent of the country's 37 million eligible voters had cast their ballots, down from 60.74 per cent at the same time in the April 28 election

As of 6pm, 56.86 per cent of the country's 37 million eligible voters had cast their ballots, down from 60.74 per cent at the same time in the April 28 election

As of 6pm, 56.86 per cent of the country’s 37 million eligible voters had cast their ballots, down from 60.74 per cent at the same time in the April 28 election

The lower turnout had been expected, since recent polls suggested up to 35 per cent of voters could skip the country's fourth ballot since 2015 because they felt jaded by the political stalemate. Pictured: Noelia Vera of Unidas Podemos on electoral night

The lower turnout had been expected, since recent polls suggested up to 35 per cent of voters could skip the country's fourth ballot since 2015 because they felt jaded by the political stalemate. Pictured: Noelia Vera of Unidas Podemos on electoral night

The lower turnout had been expected, since recent polls suggested up to 35 per cent of voters could skip the country’s fourth ballot since 2015 because they felt jaded by the political stalemate. Pictured: Noelia Vera of Unidas Podemos on electoral night

Lower temperatures across Spain on Sunday and heavy rain in some northern provinces could have also contributed to people staying at home. Pictured: Government Action secretary of Podemos, Pablo Echenique

Lower temperatures across Spain on Sunday and heavy rain in some northern provinces could have also contributed to people staying at home. Pictured: Government Action secretary of Podemos, Pablo Echenique

Lower temperatures across Spain on Sunday and heavy rain in some northern provinces could have also contributed to people staying at home. Pictured: Government Action secretary of Podemos, Pablo Echenique

Analysts say lower turnout has traditionally hurt the country's left-wing parties. Pictured: The head of the Vox delegation at the European Parliament, Jorge Buxade, is seen giving a press conference in Madrid

Analysts say lower turnout has traditionally hurt the country's left-wing parties. Pictured: The head of the Vox delegation at the European Parliament, Jorge Buxade, is seen giving a press conference in Madrid

Analysts say lower turnout has traditionally hurt the country’s left-wing parties. Pictured: The head of the Vox delegation at the European Parliament, Jorge Buxade, is seen giving a press conference during the in Madrid

Officials are pictured counting ballot papers at a polling station in Ronda after Spain held general elections on Sunday

Officials are pictured counting ballot papers at a polling station in Ronda after Spain held general elections on Sunday

Officials are pictured counting ballot papers at a polling station in Ronda after Spain held general elections on Sunday

The mainstream conservative Popular Party rebounded from their previous debacle in the April vote to 87 seats from 66, a historic low. 

The far-left United We Can, which had a chance to help the Socialists form a left-wing government over the summer but rejected the offer, lost some ground to get 35 seats.

The undisputed loser of the night was the center-right Citizens party, which collapsed to 10 seats from 57 in April after its leader Albert Rivera refused to help the Socialists form a government and tried to copy some of Vox’s hard-line positions.

Sanchez’s chances of staying in power will still hinge on finally winning over the United We Can party and several regional parties, a complicated maneuver that he has failed to pull off over the past few months.

‘These elections have only served for the right to grow stronger and for Spain to have one of the strongest far-right parties in Europe,’ said United We Can leader Pablo Iglesias. ‘The only way to stop the far-right in Spain is to have a stable government. We again extend our hand to Pedro Sanchez.’

Vox has already joined forces with the Popular Party and Citizens to take over many city and regional governments in the past year. Those three groups would readily band together to oust Sanchez, who is seen by the right-wing opposition as too soft on the Catalan secessionist movement.    

Polls predict the party could jump from 5th place to become Spain's third-ranking party, after the ruling Socialists and the centre-right Popular Party, the group from which Vox's founders stem. Pictured: he secretary of the Organization Area of PSC, Salvador Illa Roca

Polls predict the party could jump from 5th place to become Spain's third-ranking party, after the ruling Socialists and the centre-right Popular Party, the group from which Vox's founders stem. Pictured: he secretary of the Organization Area of PSC, Salvador Illa Roca

Polls predict the party could jump from 5th place to become Spain’s third-ranking party, after the ruling Socialists and the centre-right Popular Party, the group from which Vox’s founders stem. Pictured: he secretary of the Organization Area of PSC, Salvador Illa Roca

Surrounded by supporters, Abascal, 43, said he did not have many expectations Sunday but hoped 'the election serves to reinforce Spanish unity.' Pictured: Votes being counted in Barcelona

Surrounded by supporters, Abascal, 43, said he did not have many expectations Sunday but hoped 'the election serves to reinforce Spanish unity.' Pictured: Votes being counted in Barcelona

Surrounded by supporters, Abascal, 43, said he did not have many expectations Sunday but hoped ‘the election serves to reinforce Spanish unity.’ Pictured: Votes being counted in Barcelona

Spain's Interior Ministry says turnout for Sunday's national election so far is 3.5 percentage points lower than the last ballot earlier this year. Pictured: Spanish conservative People's Party (PP) general secretary Teodoro Garcia Egea

Spain's Interior Ministry says turnout for Sunday's national election so far is 3.5 percentage points lower than the last ballot earlier this year. Pictured: Spanish conservative People's Party (PP) general secretary Teodoro Garcia Egea

Spain’s Interior Ministry says turnout for Sunday’s national election so far is 3.5 percentage points lower than the last ballot earlier this year. Pictured: Spanish conservative People’s Party (PP) general secretary Teodoro Garcia Egea

Spain's socialist Prime Minister's conservative rival Pablo Casado, of the People's Party, casts his vote in the capital. Polls suggest his party may gain several additional seats

Spain's socialist Prime Minister's conservative rival Pablo Casado, of the People's Party, casts his vote in the capital. Polls suggest his party may gain several additional seats

Spain’s socialist Prime Minister’s conservative rival Pablo Casado, of the People’s Party, casts his vote in the capital. Polls suggest his party may gain several additional seats

And far-right leader of Vox Santiago Abascal pictured casting his vote in the country's capital. The party, which favours 'drastic solutions' to the Catalonian independence question has seen a surge in the polls

And far-right leader of Vox Santiago Abascal pictured casting his vote in the country's capital. The party, which favours 'drastic solutions' to the Catalonian independence question has seen a surge in the polls

And far-right leader of Vox Santiago Abascal pictured casting his vote in the country’s capital. The party, which favours ‘drastic solutions’ to the Catalonian independence question has seen a surge in the polls

In Barcelona, Spain's Catalan leader Quim Torra casts his vote as daughter Helena Torra, wearing yellow, works at the polling station. This election has been marred by heightened tensions over Catalonian independence and a surge in support for Vox

In Barcelona, Spain's Catalan leader Quim Torra casts his vote as daughter Helena Torra, wearing yellow, works at the polling station. This election has been marred by heightened tensions over Catalonian independence and a surge in support for Vox

In Barcelona, Spain’s Catalan leader Quim Torra casts his vote as daughter Helena Torra, wearing yellow, works at the polling station. This election has been marred by heightened tensions over Catalonian independence and a surge in support for Vox

Temperatures have also run high on the election day. A Ciudadanos observer and a pro-independence JxCat party observer argue after a Ciudadanos spokesman Ines Arrimadas cast her vote at a polling station in Barcelona

Temperatures have also run high on the election day. A Ciudadanos observer and a pro-independence JxCat party observer argue after a Ciudadanos spokesman Ines Arrimadas cast her vote at a polling station in Barcelona

Temperatures have also run high on the election day. A Ciudadanos observer and a pro-independence JxCat party observer argue after a Ciudadanos spokesman Ines Arrimadas cast her vote at a polling station in Barcelona

A woman casts her vote in Madrid, Spain, today. The polls close at 8pm tonight, 9pm GMT, with results expected to be announced within the next few hours afterwards

A woman casts her vote in Madrid, Spain, today. The polls close at 8pm tonight, 9pm GMT, with results expected to be announced within the next few hours afterwards

A woman casts her vote in Madrid, Spain, today. The polls close at 8pm tonight, 9pm GMT, with results expected to be announced within the next few hours afterwards

Spanish citizens cast their votes in Madrid, Spain, today. The last election had a record turnout of 76 per cent, but the turnout for this election is expected to be lower as voters suffer from fatigue

Spanish citizens cast their votes in Madrid, Spain, today. The last election had a record turnout of 76 per cent, but the turnout for this election is expected to be lower as voters suffer from fatigue

Spanish citizens cast their votes in Madrid, Spain, today. The last election had a record turnout of 76 per cent, but the turnout for this election is expected to be lower as voters suffer from fatigue

Voters in Barcelona, Catalonia, arrive to cast their votes in Spain's general election. One is holding a dog

Voters in Barcelona, Catalonia, arrive to cast their votes in Spain's general election. One is holding a dog

Voters in Barcelona, Catalonia, arrive to cast their votes in Spain’s general election. One is holding a dog 

Julia Giobelina, a 34-year-old web designer from Madrid, was angry at having to vote for the second time this year but said she cast her ballot in hopes of stopping the rise of Vox.

‘They are the new fascism,’ Giobelina said. ‘We citizens need to stand against privatization of health care and other public services.’

Spain returned to democracy in the late 1970s after a near four-decade right-wing dictatorship under the late Gen. Francisco Franco. The country used to take pride in claiming that no far-right group had seats in the national Parliament, unlike the rest of Europe.

That changed in the spring, but the Socialists’ April victory was still seen by many as a respite for Europe, where right-wing parties had gained much ground.

Vox relied on its anti-migrant message and attacks on laws that protect women from domestic abuse as well as what it considers leftist ideology disguised as political correctness. Still, it does not advocate a break from the EU in the very pro-EU Spain.

But it has flourished after recent riots in Catalonia by separatists, capitalizing on Spanish nationalist sentiment stirred up by the country’s worst political conflict in decades. 

Many right-wingers were also not pleased by the Socialist government’s exhumation of Franco’s remains last month from his gargantuan mausoleum so he could no longer be exalted in a public place. 

Spaniards arrive to cast their votes in the general election - it is expected to return another hung parliament for the country

Spaniards arrive to cast their votes in the general election - it is expected to return another hung parliament for the country

Spaniards arrive to cast their votes in the general election – it is expected to return another hung parliament for the country

Spanish voters queue outside a polling station in Barcelona before casting their votes. No party is expected to win the crucial 176 seats required to gain a working majority in the parliament

Spanish voters queue outside a polling station in Barcelona before casting their votes. No party is expected to win the crucial 176 seats required to gain a working majority in the parliament

Spanish voters queue outside a polling station in Barcelona before casting their votes. No party is expected to win the crucial 176 seats required to gain a working majority in the parliament

A woman casts her vote in Madrid, Spain, during the country's general election. In a move that could garner further support the PSOE government has exhumed the body of the country's former dictator Francisco Franco

A woman casts her vote in Madrid, Spain, during the country's general election. In a move that could garner further support the PSOE government has exhumed the body of the country's former dictator Francisco Franco

A woman casts her vote in Madrid, Spain, during the country’s general election. In a move that could garner further support the PSOE government has exhumed the body of the country’s former dictator Francisco Franco

A woman in a wheelchair casts her vote in Barcelona, Spain. Tensions have been heightened due to calls for Catalan independence and protests in the streets leading up to the election

A woman in a wheelchair casts her vote in Barcelona, Spain. Tensions have been heightened due to calls for Catalan independence and protests in the streets leading up to the election

A woman in a wheelchair casts her vote in Barcelona, Spain. Tensions have been heightened due to calls for Catalan independence and protests in the streets leading up to the election

Two election workers watch as votes are cast in the country's capital Madrid. Polls close at 8pm, or 9pm tonight, with results expected a few hours after they close

Two election workers watch as votes are cast in the country's capital Madrid. Polls close at 8pm, or 9pm tonight, with results expected a few hours after they close

Two election workers watch as votes are cast in the country’s capital Madrid. Polls close at 8pm, or 9pm tonight, with results expected a few hours after they close

Dozens of people cheered and shouted ‘President! President!’ on Sunday as Abascal voted in Madrid.

‘Only by getting rid of Sanchez we can preserve Spain as it is, not by reaching agreements with the (Catalan) separatists,’ said Alfonso Pedro Monestilla, a 59-year-old civil servant who voted for Vox.

The debate over Catalonia, however, promises to fester.

The three Catalan separatist parties won a combined 23 seats on Sunday. Many Catalans have been angered by the decision last month by Spain’s Supreme Court, which sentenced to prison nine Catalan politicians and activists who led a 2017 drive for the region’s independence. 

The ruling has triggered massive daily protests in Catalonia that left more than 500 people injured, roughly half of them police officers, and dozens arrested.

More protests are expected beginning Monday.

Some of Catalonia’s 5.5 million voters said they wanted their vote to deliver a message that politicians had to resolve the situation.

‘We are a bit tired, but I hope that the Spanish government understands that there is no other remedy than taking us into account,’ said Cari Bailador, a retired teacher in Barcelona. 

Citizens arrive early in the morning to cast their vote in Madrid, Spain. PSOE is not expected to secure enough seats to form a majority in parliament

Citizens arrive early in the morning to cast their vote in Madrid, Spain. PSOE is not expected to secure enough seats to form a majority in parliament

Citizens arrive early in the morning to cast their vote in Madrid, Spain. PSOE is not expected to secure enough seats to form a majority in parliament

Barcelona's mayoress Ada Colau shakes hands with election workers as she arrives to cast her vote in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona's mayoress Ada Colau shakes hands with election workers as she arrives to cast her vote in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona’s mayoress Ada Colau shakes hands with election workers as she arrives to cast her vote in Barcelona, Spain

The key leaders in the fourth Spanish general election in as many years

PEDRO SANCHEZ’S SOCIALIST WORKERS’ PARTY (PSOE)

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with wife Maria Begona Gomez Fernandes goes to vote in Madrid, Spain

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with wife Maria Begona Gomez Fernandes goes to vote in Madrid, Spain

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with wife Maria Begona Gomez Fernandes goes to vote in Madrid, Spain

Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez, 47, a trained economist, called the snap election after failing to secure support from other parties after winning the most votes, but no working majority, in an election in April.

Most opinion polls point to the PSOE re-emerging as the largest party but again landing far short of a majority, and probably with fewer seats than in the previous ballot, requiring the support of other parties to form a government.

Recent events, particularly tensions over separatism in Catalonia, have boosted right-wing parties and could reshape the distribution of seats.

On Oct. 24, Sanchez’s caretaker government removed the remains of late dictator General Francisco Franco from a state mausoleum in a historic, symbolically powerful step that could help him mobilize left-wing voters.

PSOE is Spain’s oldest active party and one of two that have dominated the political landscape since Franco’s rule ended with his death in 1975. It has been in government longest since then.

PABLO CASADO’S PEOPLE’S PARTY (PP)

Pablo Casado makes a statement before casting his vote in Spain's general election today

Pablo Casado makes a statement before casting his vote in Spain's general election today

Pablo Casado makes a statement before casting his vote in Spain’s general election today

A conservative, Christian democratic party, and the Socialists’ main rival for decades.

Pablo Casado, a 38-year-old lawyer and economist, became party leader a month after the government of Sanchez’s predecessor Mariano Rajoy was ousted by Sanchez last year.

He obtained PP’s worst ever election result in April with just 66 seats in the 350-seat house, but polls see PP faring much better next week, possibly putting Casado in the position of kingmaker.

Casado has promised to cut taxes and has called for Catalonia to be ‘reconquered’ following the northeastern region’s failed independence bid in 2017.

A critic of Sanchez’s handling of the Catalan issue, Casado is known as a defender of family values, the monarchy and the Catholic Church, and an opponent of abortion and euthanasia.

SANTIAGO ABASCAL’S VOX

Vox party leader Santiago Abascal pictured casting his vote in Madrid, Spain

Vox party leader Santiago Abascal pictured casting his vote in Madrid, Spain

Vox party leader Santiago Abascal pictured casting his vote in Madrid, Spain

An anti-immigration, nationalist party founded in 2013 by former PP members.

In April, Vox became the first far-right party to enter Spain’s parliament since the 1980s, with 24 seats, and polls show it could now become the third-biggest force there, with possibly as many as 44 seats.

Vox opposes gender equality laws and is strongly against autonomy for Spain’s regions.

Its leader Santiago Abascal, 43, is a tough-talking career politician from the Basque country, who harshly criticised the exhumation of Franco and who wants Catalan separatism quashed.

Echoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, he has called for a secure wall to be built around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and for neighbouring Morocco to pay for it.

‘I am a supporter of discrimination,’ he told 7TV Andalucia in 2017.

ALBERT RIVERA’S CIUDADANOS (CITIZENS)

Pro-European Ciudadanos party leader Albert Rivera delivers a speech in July. He has also cast his vote today

Pro-European Ciudadanos party leader Albert Rivera delivers a speech in July. He has also cast his vote today

Pro-European Ciudadanos party leader Albert Rivera delivers a speech in July. He has also cast his vote today

A centre-right, pro-European party originally from Catalonia and part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe that first won Spanish parliament seats in 2015.

Its leader, Albert Rivera, 39, worked in a bank before founding Ciudadanos in 2006.

Rivera, who backed Sanchez in his failed 2016 bid for premiership, refused him support after April election, leaving him no option but to seek support from left-wing Unidas Podemos.

Polls show Ciudadanos would lose seats after several senior figures quit over regional deals it has struck with the far-right. Ciudadanos is a stalwart defender of Spain’s unity and strongly opposes any concessions to separatists.

PABLO IGLESIAS’ UNIDAS PODEMOS (TOGETHER WE CAN)

Unidas Podemos general secretary Pablo Iglesias heads to cast his vote in La Navata, Spain, today

Unidas Podemos general secretary Pablo Iglesias heads to cast his vote in La Navata, Spain, today

Unidas Podemos general secretary Pablo Iglesias heads to cast his vote in La Navata, Spain, today

An alliance of left-wing Podemos, United Left, and other parties, created in the run-up to the 2016 election and rooted in the anti-austerity protest movement. The name was tweaked in 2019 to make it female to reflect its pro-feminism stance.

Its leader, political scientist and lecturer Pablo Iglesias, 41, founded Podemos in 2014.

Podemos had tried in vain to negotiate a governing coalition deal with PSOE up to the very last minute in September, but Sanchez ultimately refused to give them cabinet posts, saying that Iglesias’ excessive demands had torpedoed such a solution.

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British woman’s father murdered her baby girl ‘because she was ginger’

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An evil grandfather murdered his five-week-old granddaughter “because she was ginger” and reminded him of the father he hated.

Mark Jones, 45, was babysitting his newborn granddaughter Amelia Jones alone when he beat her to death.

A court heard he battered little Amelia around the head so viciously her injuries were more commonly in a “car crash”.

Jones, from the UK, attacked his granddaughter during her short life because he hated her ginger-haired father.

Mark Jones killed his newborn granddaughter Amelia Rose while babysitting.

Prosecutor Paul Lewis said: “Mark Jones did not like the fact that Amelia Jones had ginger hair and looked like her father.” Amelia’s father Ian Skillern had finished the relationship with his daughter Sarah, 26, before Amelia was born.

Newport Crown Court heard Jones had pressured his daughter to end the relationship because he had an “obvious dislike” for Skillern.

Mr Lewis told the jury that just a week before Amelia’s tragic death Jones had made an “odd comment” to his daughter.

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Jones told her: “Even though I don’t like her dad, I don’t hold grudges against a baby.”

But the jury reached a unanimous decision that Jones murdered his own granddaughter because of his hatred for her father. The court heard Jones had “the sole care” of Amelia on the night of 17 November 2012 when her mother was enjoying a rare night out with her sister at the cinema.

At around 10.30pm Jones made a frantic call and told the emergency operator he had “gone to make a cuppa” when his granddaughter “stopped breathing”.

Amelia Rose was five weeks old when she was murdered.

Paramedics and police rushed to the three-bed terraced house iand found Jones in the lounge standing over the lifeless body of baby Amelia – who was lying on the floor with a fractured skull.

She was rushed to hospital where medics managed to restore her pulse.


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‘As far as I’m concerned he is no longer my father’

But after failing to get her breathing she was quickly transferred for specialist treatment where she tragically died on the afternoon of 19 November from “catastrophic brain injuries” – just 41 days into her short life.

After her death, doctors discovered Amelia had suffered multiple fractures to her ribs, legs and skull in the two weeks before her death.

Amelia’s mother Sarah was initially arrested along with her father but the court heard it soon became apparent to police she had nothing to do with her daughter’s injuries.

Sarah Jones was at the cinema when her baby girl was murdered.

In a victim impact statement to the court, Sarah Jones said: “It upsets me how little time I got to spend with Amelia.

“I feel guilty for letting Mark Jones into my life. This whole ordeal has been a nightmare I cannot escape. It seems like she didn’t really exist, like she was some kind of dream.

“There have been times when I blamed myself for what happened to Amelia, because I was the person who invited him back into my life.

“As far as I’m concerned he is no longer my father.”

The court heard Mr Jones was babysitting Amelia and her three young siblings alone on the Friday and Saturday nights before her death.

Mark Jones, 45, pictured, was babysitting newborn Amelia Jones when he battered her head and tiny body.

After his arrest he changed his story four times during police interviews conducted between November 2012 and July 2014.

At first he said Amelia had simply stopped breathing when he left her on the sofa to make a cup of tea. Jones then changed his story to claim he dropped her on the floor after tripping up on a toy penguin on the floor.

He later claimed a teenage boy visiting the house had accidentally dropped Amelia while trying to use his phone.

But when the teen told police it was a lie, Jones said he had “blacked out or fainted” while holding Amelia and had fallen to the ground on Saturday night.

Jones, of Pontnewydd, South Wales, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice but denied a charge of murder.

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Family of elusive suspect in Toyah Cordingley’s murder speaks out in India

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As Toyah Cordingley’s loved ones hope for justice, the family of a key person of interest in her murder says they don’t know where in India he is.

Rajwinder Singh, who was working as a nurse in far north Queensland around the time Cordingley was found dead on Wangetti Beach last year, is believed to be a wanted for questioning by police.

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But it’s understood he’s disappeared in India.

In his home state of Punjab, his uncle told 7NEWS he has not been in contact.

“I don’t know where he is. I don’t have any contact with him. He has never called me,” the man said in Amritsar, in India’s densely populated north-west.

“He (is) a very simple and silent guy.

It's been one year since Toyah Cordingley was found murdered.

“What he did in Australia, what happened in Australia, we don’t know (what) was the situation there.”

More than a year ago, 24-year-old Cordingley was walking her dog the beach 40km north of Cairns when she was killed.

CCTV footage shows Toyah Cordingley before she was found dead after taking a dog for a walk on Wangetti beach, 40km north of Cairns.

No one has been charged over her murder.

Punjabi police said they are ready to offer their Queensland counterparts support if called on to help find Singh.

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To mark the one-year anniversary of her death last month, Cordingley’s dad Troy Cordingley said he missed her terribly.

“She lives in memory now and forever will,” he said on Facebook.

“Justice will come. It may take time, but it will not bring her back.”

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