Spanish TV election debate excludes far-right party

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Spanish TV election debate excludes far-right party
A man disposes of an empty bottle into a recycling container with an election poster showing the face of Socialist prime minister Pedro Sanchez in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Voters go to the polls for general elections on April 28, when the Socialists will try to remain in power and the extreme right will aim to break into the national Parliament. Message reads 'Make it happen. Vote PSOE, The Spain that you Want'. (AP Photo/Paul White)

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Socialist leader and incumbent prime minister Pedro Sanchez has agreed to a single television debate with the lead candidates from three other main parties, following controversy over a potential debate appearance by a surging far-right party.

The Socialist party said Wednesday Sanchez will appear ahead of the April 28 ballot on public broadcaster RTVE with the leaders of the conservative Popular Party, center-right Citizens party and far-left Podemos party.

Sanchez had wanted a debate featuring the anti-immigrant Vox party, which is seeking its first parliamentary seats. Analysts say Sanchez wanted to associate the Popular Party and Citizens party with Vox, which previously have forged a regional alliance.

But the electoral board disallowed that five-way debate, ruling that other small parties would also need to be invited.