Elections in Spain: ruling socialist party wins most seats but will have to form a coalition | The independent
Spain’s ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) won its first electoral victory since the financial crisis, although it failed to secure an overall majority.
With most of the results confirmed, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was assured of securing an electoral mandate, 10 months after orchestrating a vote of no confidence to seize power from the conservative Partido Popular (PP), which appeared likely to have suffered. the worst in its history. election result due in part to the rise of the far right Vox.
“The Socialists won the legislative elections and with them the future has won and the past has lost,” SÃ¡nchez told his supporters from the balcony of the party’s headquarters in Madrid.
The PSOE is expected to win 122 of the 350 seats in the Spanish Congress of Deputies, the PP winning 65, center-right Ciudadanos 58, left-wing Unidas Podemos 42 and Vox 24, thus becoming the first explicitly far-right party to be represented. in Spanish. policy since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 and the end of the military dictatorship.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal argued that the success of the Socialists meant that his party would become “even more necessary” than before “.
The result leaves none of the proposed coalition blocs likely to achieve the 176 seats required for an overall majority.
Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera reiterated that his party would not try to form a job with the Socialists, promising to be an opposition party “loyal to the Spanish Constitution”.
However, the PSOE and Podemos find themselves 11 seats away from the opportunity to establish a progressive partnership on their own.
Speaking ahead of polling day, Sanchez admitted that a coalition would likely be the only way forward.
Opening the door to Podemos and refusing to rule out working with Ciudadanos, he said: âMy commitment is to speak to all political parties, within democracyâ¦ Democracy is not a ‘vetocracy’.
Nevertheless, the former basketball player will now need the consensus of several parties to form a stable government, following one of the most acrimonious elections in Spain since his transition to democracy.
The divide in the right pushed Mr Sanchez on the defensive for much of the campaign as opposition parties – with retired Franco generals, bullfighters and marquises among their top candidates – competed to adopt. the most aggressive stance against the Catalan socialists and nationalists.
His PSOE may find it difficult to strike a coalition with Ciudadanos, the most moderate member of the conservative triumvirate, who accused the prime minister of being a “criminal”, “traitor” and “compulsive liar”. In the Andalusian regional elections in December, he joined a coalition involving Vox.
The suspended parliaments in Spain have traditionally spawned minority governments, building on the confidence and supply of Basque and Catalan parties, both initially in favor of Mr Sanchez coming to power last June.
However, the Catalan separatists, who in fact forced the elections by rejecting the socialist budget in February, will this time demand an independence referendum, which the prime minister has vowed “will never take place.”
Although all parties call for national unity, differences persist and the prospect of a fourth general election in as many years continues.
The bursting of a 15-year bubble that triggered Spain’s financial crisis from 2008 to 2014 marked the end of a two-party system that had predominated for decades.
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The resulting austerity galvanized Podemos, then anti-capitalist, while a corruption scandal engulfing the PP government of former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, as well as his management of Catalonia, gave birth to Ciudadanos.
Following an attempt at dialogue on Catalan independence, reforms to protect women from sexual violence and an increase in immigration to the Mediterranean coast, the spectacular arrival of Vox changed the face of Spanish politics.
He could still be part of a coalition government.
Still, with the European Union elections coming up and another bitter campaign looming, it may be some time before the dust settles.