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Spain election: Campaigners seek shelter from July heat

Spanish political parties in the final days of campaigning ahead of a 23 July snap general election have adapted to the blistering heat through measures such as changing the venues and timing of their rallies and building an online presence.

As parts of the country have faced temperatures of over 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday (17 July) campaigned in the city of Huesca near the Pyrenees mountains, which recorded an average temperature of 27.8C.

Later on Tuesday (18 July), he was set to appear in the northern coastal city of San Sebastian, where the maximum temperature forecast is 25C, according to weather agency AEMET.

Apart from choosing the coolest locations, parties have limited the amount of outdoor campaigning.

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“We designed the campaign as something more audiovisual, with a lot of television, radio, podcasts, and also interviews in the press,” a spokesperson for Sanchez’s Socialist party said, adding this was “partly due to the logic of holding fewer outdoor events because of the time of year”.

It also uses air-conditioned indoor venues “so that attendees can be comfortable”.

The opposition conservative People’s Party (PP), which leads opinion polls, has held rallies in the early morning or later than usual, a PP official said. Participants are given bottles of water, hand fans, baseball caps and other “summery merchandise”, he added.

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Its leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo, who had criticized the choice of date for the snap election, citing the heat and the holiday season, gave a speech on Monday under the shade of the trees lining Barcelona’s lush Turo Park.

A spokesperson for far-right party Vox said it preferred to hold rallies outdoors to accommodate larger crowds, but starting after 8.30 p.m. to avoid the hottest hours of the day.

Left-wing Sumar said most of its events had been indoors.

“For those that have been outdoors, we’ve tried to guarantee shady spaces where the public could be as comfortable as possible,” a spokesperson said.

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