Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party wins snap polls but majority not, likely to form alliance with hostile rivals-World News, Firstpost
The results raise the specter of a new period of instability for Spain, with Pedro Sanchez dependent on alliances with hostile rivals in an environment that has deteriorated since the failed attempt to secede from Catalonia in 2017.
Madrid: Socialists under Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez won the snap elections without the majority needed to rule solo in a fragmented political landscape marked by the entry of the far right into parliament.
The results raise the specter of a new period of instability for Spain, with Sanchez dependent on alliances with hostile rivals in an environment that has deteriorated since the failed attempt to secede from Catalonia in 2017 .
A significant development has been the rise of the ultra-nationalist Vox party, which garnered just over 10 percent of the vote in a country that has not had a proper far-right party since the death of dictator Francisco. Franco in 1975.
Sanchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) obtained 123 deputies out of 350, or nearly 29% of the vote, far from an absolute majority but much better than the 85 seats it obtained in 2016.
“The Socialists won the legislative elections and with them the future has won and the past has lost,” he told enthusiastic supporters from the balcony of the party’s headquarters in Madrid, claiming victory on Sunday evening.
The big loser was the Conservative Popular Party (PP), which won 66 seats against 137 in the previous elections which had seen it rule Spain with a minority government.
Sanchez, who came to power in June after ousting Tory Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote, may seek to forge alliances with far-left Podemos and smaller groupings like the Catalan separatist parties, as he l ‘had done in the past 10 months.
He could also try to get closer to center-right Ciudadanos, who won 57 seats. Together they would form an absolute majority, but voters from both parties would likely disapprove of such a move.
“I hope Sanchez does not come to an agreement with Ciudadanos, I want a leftist government,” Esther Lopez, 51, said at Socialist Party headquarters, wearing earrings marked “PSOE”.
Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera has built his campaign on Sanchez’s bashing, criticizing his attempts to negotiate with Catalan separatist parties in a bid to ease a secession crisis in the northeast region.
In a Monday editorial, the Madrid daily El Mundo called on Sanchez to “reach out to Rivera and consider forming a moderate government, which would no doubt do well in Europe, to ensure the stability” of the country.
Emergence of the far right
The crisis in Catalonia is precisely what fueled Vox’s meteoric rise from the outer margins of politics to the national stage, after winning nearly 11% of the vote in December’s regional polls in southern Andalusia.
Founded by Santiago Abascal, a disgruntled former member of the PP, it will now occupy 24 seats in the national parliament.
This is less than what the opinion polls had predicted.
“I thought Vox would get a lot more votes, with this result Vox will have no weight in parliament because no one is supporting them. We needed more seats,” said Maria Bonilla Ortega, a 22-year-old philosophy student. in the center of Madrid. , a Spanish flag draped around his shoulders.
Abascal was more optimistic: “We can say to Spain with absolute calm that Vox has come to stay,” he told enthusiastic fans.
After a tense campaign, the turnout was high to 75.76%, down from 66.48% in 2016, election officials said.
Shadow of Catalonia
With a firm stand against feminism and illegal immigration, Vox stood out with ultra-nationalist rhetoric advocating “defense of the Spanish nation to the end” and a hard line against separatists in Catalonia.
The northeastern region of Spain was the scene of an attempted secession in 2017 that sparked the country’s biggest political crisis in decades and raised serious concerns in Europe.
The question continued to cast a veil on Spanish politics.
Sanchez was forced to call Sunday’s elections after Catalan pro-independence lawmakers in the national parliament, angry at their leaders’ trial in Madrid, refused to give him the support he needed for his 2019 budget.
Right-wing parties for their part blasted Sanchez, at the head of a minority government, for talking with the separatists who still rule the region, accusing him of getting closer to those who tried to break up Spain.
This controversy is expected to continue as two Catalan separatist parties won even more lawmakers in the national parliament than in 2016, up 22 to 17.
The five elected separatists are in prison and are currently on trial by the Spanish Supreme Court.
In a sign of the impact of the crisis on voters, Dolores Palomo, a 48-year-old domestic worker, said she had always voted for Socialists but this time voted for Ciudadanos at a polling station in Hospitalet de Llobregat, near Barcelona.
The reason? Sanchez “is a puppet of the separatists,” she said.