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Strictly Come Dancing: Mike Bushell is eliminated after judges unanimously save Michelle Visage

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Mike Bushell became the seventh celebrity to be eliminated on Strictly Come Dancing following weeks of ‘fix’ claims. 

The BBC Breakfast host was unanimously voted off the show after he and partner Katya Jones took on Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice in the dance-off during Sunday’s result show.  

Mike failed to impress with his Paso Doble, in comparison to Michelle’s American Smooth, sending him crashing out of the competition the week before Blackpool.  

It’s over: Mike Bushell became the seventh celebrity to be eliminated on Strictly Come Dancing following weeks of ‘fix’ claims alongside his professional partner Katya Jones

Craig Revel Horwood praised Mike, 53, and Katya, 30, for their efforts, but ultimately chose to save Michelle, stating: ‘One couple put up a very good fight but the couple I’d like to save is Michelle and Giovanni’.  

Motsi Mabuse was in agreement, noting: ‘I have to say I have seen the best performance from both couples. 

‘I really, really mean that but one couple was the clear winner of the dance off and I am going to save Michelle and Giovanni.’ 

Following the other judges’ lead, Bruno Tonoili concluded: ‘Well with all due respect to all of you, I have to save the couple that really performed to the highest standard and to me that couple is Michelle and Giovanni.’

Victorious: The BBC Breakfast host was unanimously voted off after he and partner Katya took on Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice in the dance-off during Sunday’s result show

Although her vote would no longer have made a difference, Head Judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too would have also chosen to save Michelle and Giovanni. 

When asked by Tess Daly about his time on the show, Mike said: ‘I have had the most amazing 9 or 10 weeks since we started training. 

‘I have lost a stone and half. I’m a guy in his 50s, I’m mentally sharper, I feel able to deal with pressured situations – thanks to the dance-offs! It has changed me completely and honestly I’m not going to stop dancing. 

‘My wife Emily has supported me all the way through and my daughters. My dad’s going to take up ballroom dancing and my mum has started Zumba. 

Friends for life: Chris Ramsey and Kelvin Fletcher rushed over to commiserate Mike

Friends for life: Chris Ramsey and Kelvin Fletcher rushed over to commiserate Mike

Friends for life: Chris Ramsey and Kelvin Fletcher rushed over to commiserate Mike

‘I want to thank all my family and the judges. I have all the comments framed around the house. Every moment has been an absolute honour and a joy.’

Despite not making it through to Blackpool Week, which will see the contestants perform at the Tower Ballroom, Mike insisted he’d be there to show his support. 

He continued: ‘I didn’t think I’d get this far so I have already booked a hotel in Blackpool, so I’m still coming along.’

He then turned his attention to partner Katya, gushing: ‘This amazing teacher, Katya, I can’t tell you the dedication that she puts in. She’d make the greatest sporting coach ever, she makes you believe that anything is possible. 

‘She hasn’t taken it easy on me. We’ve had some difficult routines and I can’t believe the miracles you’ve performed. There’s so many memories.’

Head to head: Mike and Katya first found themselves in the bottom two in Week 5, but instead former England footballer David James and his partner Nadiya Bychkova were eliminated

Head to head: Mike and Katya first found themselves in the bottom two in Week 5, but instead former England footballer David James and his partner Nadiya Bychkova were eliminated

Head to head: Mike and Katya first found themselves in the bottom two in Week 5, but instead former England footballer David James and his partner Nadiya Bychkova were eliminated

Katya responded: ‘Honestly I’m so proud of him and I think after even this dance which I think was your best dance you can leave with your head held up honestly; and in my eyes you’re the winner. 

‘The only thing he has lost is weight. He came in every single day giving his heart, soul, everything, 200% no matter what after every single dance off and thank you so much. I’m so sorry I couldn’t take to Blackpool.’

Mike’s elimination comes after fans claimed the show was ‘fixed’ to stay in after he previously survived two dance offs in a row.  

Booted: The pair then found themselves in the bottom two during Halloween Week against Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley and partner Johannes Radebe

Booted: The pair then found themselves in the bottom two during Halloween Week against Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley and partner Johannes Radebe

Booted: The pair then found themselves in the bottom two during Halloween Week against Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley and partner Johannes Radebe

Mike and Katya first found themselves in the bottom two in Week 5, after their Salsa to Jump On It to The Sugar Hill Gang fell felt with viewers.

However, the dancing duo were spared and instead former England footballer David James and his professional partner Nadiya Bychkova were eliminated.

The pair then found themselves in the bottom two during Halloween Week when the tango did little to rouse fans alongside Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley and partner Johannes Radebe, who were ultimately given the boot after Shirley had the deciding vote. 

Back again: Last week, Mike faced the dance off for a third time, where he triumphed over Viscountess Emma Weymouth and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec

Back again: Last week, Mike faced the dance off for a third time, where he triumphed over Viscountess Emma Weymouth and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec

Back again: Last week, Mike faced the dance off for a third time, where he triumphed over Viscountess Emma Weymouth and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec

Last week, Mike faced the dance off for a third time, where he triumphed over Viscountess Emma Weymouth and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec.

North Yorkshire native Mike – who even received vile death threats over winning dance-offs – defiantly appeared on BBC Breakfast to defend his position on the show earlier this month.

He said: ‘It’s an entertainment show, we’re all trying our best, you’re not really competing against anybody else, you compete against yourself to try and learn to get better and better each week, even if its just learning a couple of new steps.  

Strictly Come Dancing returns for the Blackpool special on Saturday at 7.05pm on BBC One.

Defence: Mike - who has even received vile death threats over winning dance-offs - defiantly appeared on BBC Breakfast to defend his position on the show earlier this month

Defence: Mike - who has even received vile death threats over winning dance-offs - defiantly appeared on BBC Breakfast to defend his position on the show earlier this month

Defence: Mike – who has even received vile death threats over winning dance-offs – defiantly appeared on BBC Breakfast to defend his position on the show earlier this month

 

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Johnson offers olive branch to Farage by ruling out extending Brexit transition period beyond 2020

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Boris Johnson has offered an olive branch to Nigel Farage by ruling out extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020.

In the Prime Minister’s Sunday evening Twitter video he stressed that his agreement with the EU allowed him to pursue a Canada-style free trade deal with the Bloc and would be free of any political alignment. 

The Brexit Party leader has said he will pitch candidates in 600 constituencies unless Mr Johnson agrees to go for the hardest possible withdrawal in the form of No Deal or a ‘clean-break Brexit.’

But Mr Farage is facing calls to back down amid fears he could dash Brexit altogether if the Tories haemorrhage too many seats to the Brexit Party and allow Labour and the Liberal Democrats to succeed.

Mr Johnson said in his video: ‘It’s a fantastic deal it means we can take back control of our money our borders, our laws, as soon as we come out of the EU.

‘And of course it enables us to do a big free trade deal with our EU friends and partners. And I want to stress that that will be a straightforward free trade agreement with no political alignment.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Farage

Farage

The Prime Minister’s Sunday night Twitter video said: ‘We can get the fantastic new free trade agreement with the EU by the end of 2020. And we will no extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020’ (pictured: the PM, left, Farage on the campaign trail, right)

‘There’s no need for that at all. We can have a free trade agreement on the model of a Super Canada Plus arrangement.  

‘We can get the fantastic new free trade agreement with the EU by the end of 2020. And we will not extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020.

‘There’s absolutely no need to do that. So fantastic new deal, let’s get Brexit done, and then build a new partnership with the EU and do free trade deals around the world.’ 

The Mail on Sunday revealed that a close confidant of Mr Farage has held talks with senior Tory ‘power brokers’ over a deal to pull the vast majority of Brexit Party candidates out of the election. 

In return, Mr Johnson would promise to strike a harder deal with Brussels after winning a majority.

Such a position would represent a climb-down by Mr Farage because he has been campaigning for a No Deal Brexit.

The offer, made by former Ukip treasurer Andrew Reid, comes as friends of Mr Farage say that he is ‘feeling the heat’ over his defiant insistence on fielding hundreds of Brexit Party candidates.

Mr Farage is facing growing pressure to stand down his candidates and give Mr Johnson a clear run at victory on December 12.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks during the Brexit Party general election campaign tour at the International Convention Centre on November 8, 2019 in Newport, Wales

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks during the Brexit Party general election campaign tour at the International Convention Centre on November 8, 2019 in Newport, Wales

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks during the Brexit Party general election campaign tour at the International Convention Centre on November 8, 2019 in Newport, Wales

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a general election campaign visit to Diageo's Roseisle Distillery near Elgin in Scotland on Thursday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a general election campaign visit to Diageo's Roseisle Distillery near Elgin in Scotland on Thursday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a general election campaign visit to Diageo’s Roseisle Distillery near Elgin in Scotland on Thursday

The Brexit Party leader has repeatedly offered the PM a Leave Alliance but only if the premier pledges to ditch his deal and campaign for a ‘clean break’ split from Brussels. 

Mr Johnson is fighting the election on a pledge to implement his Brexit deal and has made clear he has no intention of scrapping it. 

Fears of the Brexit Party splitting the Leave vote on polling day came as the Tories maintained their 12 point lead over Labour from last week. 

A Deltapoll survey showed that early Tory setbacks have not hit the party’s support levels. 

Their headline figure is 41 per cent, with Labour on 29 per cent – both up one percentage point from last week – with the Liberal Democrats up two points on 16 per cent. The Brexit Party is on just six per cent. 

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Scientists develop wetsuit that could protect swimmers from fatal shark attacks

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Scientists from South Australia’s Flinder’s University have developed a wetsuit that could protect swimmers from fatal shark attacks.

The potentially lifesaving wetsuit, made from a thicker fabric, could help reduce blood loss, the main cause of death in shark attacks.

Watch the video above

“The aim was to determine if some new fabric was going to be able to reduce injuries with shark bites,” Associate professor Charlie Huveneers said.

The suit was tested in shark-infested waters off South Australia, with researchers receiving promising results.

“We went there for several days and enticed some sharks to bite through the material to be able to compare the level of damage,” Huveneers said.

“If we can reduce blood loss it can…help emergency services reach the victim before too much blood has been lost.”

More on 7NEWS.com.au

Australia has recorded the highest number of sharks fatalities in the world, with 47 deaths over the past three decades.

The research was carried out after a $90,000 grant from the New South Wales government.

The study is now being independently reviewed.

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Spanish voters go to the polls for the fourth general election in as many years

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Spanish voters have headed to the polls for the fourth time in as many years today amid heightened tensions over the Catalonian separatist movement and a spike in support for the far-right party Vox.

The repeat voting was called by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez after he failed to secure sufficient support from other parties to form a government, following an inconclusive general election in April which saw his socialist party, PSOE, win the most votes but fail to obtain a crucial working majority. 

Opinion polls suggest that this new election will fail to break the deadlock, with neither the left or the right able to gain enough votes to gain a majority in Madrid’s 350-seat parliament.

The Socialists are on track to finish top again but with slightly fewer seats than the 123 they picked up in April, and far short of the 176 seats needed for a majority, while the main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) may strengthen its parliamentary presence.

Spain's socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez casts his vote in Madrid this morning. He 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 casts his vote in Madrid this morning. He 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 casts his vote in Madrid this morning. He 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'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

But the most striking development could be the rise of the far-right Vox party, which could even jump to third-largest in parliament, according to polling.

After casting his ballot in Madrid, Sanchez urged Spaniards to head to the polls, saying ‘it is very important that we all participate to strengthen our democracy’ and that the country ‘have the needed stability to be able to form a government’.

The last election produced a near-record 76 percent turnout, which helped Sanchez who had mobilised left-leaning voters to oppose Vox but analysts warn the numbers will likely drop this time, as Spaniards suffer election fatigue.

Voting stations will close at 8pm in Spain, 9pm UK time, with the results expected a few hours later. 

The election comes as Spain finds itself increasingly polarised by the Catalan crisis, which has deepened in recent weeks.

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 

Less than a month ago, the Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to lengthy jail terms over their role in a failed 2017 independence bid, sparking days of angry street protests in Barcelona and other Catalan cities that sometimes turned violent.

More than 600 people were injured in the protests, which saw demonstrators torching barricades and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police.

During a TV election debate conservative PP leader Pablo Casado called for a ‘real government that will put order in Catalonia’.

But the toughest line against the Catalan separatists has come from Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

‘Drastic solutions are needed,’ he said during his final campaign rally on Friday night in Madrid.

He repeated his pledge to end the Catalan crisis by suspending Catalonia’s regional autonomy, banning separatist parties and arresting its regional president, Quim Torra, who has vowed to continue the secession drive.

The crowd responded by chanting ‘Torra to the dungeon’.

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

‘I voted for the right because the most important thing is the unity of Spain and pensions,’ said Rafael Garcia. 

The 84-year-old did not want to say which party got his vote at a polling station in Madrid’s northern Hortaleza neighbourhood where Abascal lives. 

Vox won 24 seats in parliament in the last election in April, in the first significant showing by a far-right faction since Spain’s return to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

This time Vox could double that number, polls suggest.

In recent days, Sanchez has repeatedly raised the alarm about Vox’s ‘aggressive ultra-rightwing’ policies, warning the party would drag the country back to the dark days of Franco’s dictatorship.

‘I thought of not voting… but then I would be upset if the right won with the far-right,’ said Mari Carmen Lopez, a 25-year-old physical therapist, after casting her vote for far-left Podemos in Barcelona.

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

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

Spain has been caught in political paralysis since the election of December 2015 when Podemos and business-friendly Ciudadanos entered parliament.

That put an end to decades of dominance of the two main parties, the PP and the Socialists, in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy.

But there is a risk Sunday’s vote will only prolong the agony.

With no single party able to secure the required 176 seats for a majority, the Socialists are likely to opt for a minority government, ING analyst Steven Trypsteen said.

‘Voting intentions appear to have changed since the April election. But these changes will not make it easier to form a government,’ he added.

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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