Voters headed to the polls Sunday for elections in the Basque region and in Galicia, a region in northwestern Spain, the first elections held in the country since the Nov. 20, 2011, general elections gave the conservative Popular Party, or PP, an absolute majority in Parliament.

Nearly 2.7 million people, including 400,000 living abroad, were eligible to vote in Galicia, while 1.7 million people were eligible to vote in the Basque region.

Basques voted in the first regional elections free of the threat of violence from the terrorist group ETA, which declared a definitive cease-fire last year.

Polls showed the PP winning an absolute majority in the regional legislature in Galicia, where the party was in power, while no party was expected to win an absolute majority in the Basque region.

The elections in Galicia, a traditional stronghold of the PP, were seen by analysts as a test of support for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who had to implement big spending cuts to meet European Union demands for a reduction in the public sector deficit to 6.3 percent of the gross domestic product this year.

Polls in the Basque region pointed to a win by the Basque Nationalist Party, or PNV, but without a large enough majority to govern.

The polls also projected a strong showing by Laura Mintegi's EH Bildu party, which supports independence and is competing for the first time in regional elections.

The campaigns in the two regions focused on local issues and the effects of the economic crisis, but they were also influenced by the political debate started by Artur Mas, the nationalist leader of the government in the northeast region of Catalonia.

Mas moved up the regional elections by two years to Nov. 25 and has threatened to hold a referendum to allow the people of Catalonia to decide whether to remain part of Spain. EFE