The conservative Popular Party of Mariano Rajoy, Spain's caretaker prime minister, won the most votes in Spain’s repeat national elections on Sunday, while the Socialists held off a challenge from the Podemos Party to remain the largest left-wing formation. The fragmented result, however, did not settle who will form the country’s next government.
In effect, Rajoy and the leaders of Spain’s other parties face another tricky round of coalition negotiations. The national elections in December were also inconclusive.
The Popular Party’s advance appeared to show that conservative voters responded to Rajoy’s last-ditch warning against the kind of radical overhaul demanded by Podemos at a time of political crisis in the European Union. The Spanish elections took place three days after the British voted to leave the European Union, in a referendum that sent financial markets in Spain and throughout the world tumbling on Friday.
With 99.8% of the vote counted, Rajoy’s Popular Party had won 137 of 350 parliamentary seats, up from 123 seats in the December elections. The Socialists captured 85 seats, five fewer than in December. Podemos won 71 seats, effectively unchanged from December, after forming an election alliance with United Left, another radical party, which won two seats six months ago. Another emerging party, Ciudadanos, got 32 seats, down from 40 seats, according to the preliminary results.
No party came close to winning a parliamentary majority on Sunday. Still, the results put Rajoy back in the driver’s seat, either to try to form a right-wing coalition or to pressure the Socialists into a broader coalition that could help preserve the dominance of Spain’s establishment parties, which Podemos would like to uproot.
Addressing flag-waving supporters outside his party’s headquarters just after midnight, Rajoy celebrated his victory, but did not shed light on how it might allow him to form a new government.
“From tomorrow, we will have to talk with everybody, and we will do it,” he said, adding that Spain was “walking in the right direction.”
Even if Sunday’s result was the worst ever for the Socialists, it was sufficient to prevent the party from being leapfrogged by Podemos, an outcome that most polls had predicted.
In December, Podemos and Ciudadanos entered Spain’s Parliament for the first time. On Sunday, both parties not only had lost the novelty factor but also disappointed some voters after six months of bruising and fruitless coalition negotiations.
Podemos was hoping to mirror in Spain the success of Syriza, the far-left party that took office in Greece in 2015. Formed less than two years ago, Podemos has garnered much of its support among a Spanish youth hit by high unemployment and angered by the endemic corruption among established parties, with rising economic inequality since the financial crisis of 2008.
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos, said at a news conference on Sunday that the result was disappointing and surprising. He added, “The news today is unfortunately that the Popular Party has increased its support.”
Rajoy, 61, presented himself as the custodian of Spanish unity and continuity in the face of far younger opponents, as well as a challenge from secessionist politicians in Catalonia.
About 70% of eligible voters participated in Sunday’s elections, which was in line with the turnout six months ago.
Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!
Massive (and growing) unemployment in Spain, huge deficits, can't even properly form a government, and the better regions that actually produce something -- and don't even want to speak Spanish -- also don't want to have anything to do with Madrid. But oh well, they have a big cruise ship.Jun 27th, 2016 - 01:59 pm 0
Spain takes in the equivalent of over a billion in euros each year from UK residents and tourists. Tell me how they are going to give up any of that.
All the whining remainers in London could always go over to Spain, they could take The Hag of Scotland too.Jun 27th, 2016 - 05:37 pm 0
One 'millionaire' musician playing at Glastonbury who was a prominent remainer was bleating how 'they had been let down by democracy'.
This is the typical level of the whiners by the look of it. A democratically held election which the remainers LOST. I wonder if this 'millionaire' even voted, I bet not.
@2 Chris RJun 29th, 2016 - 11:13 am 0
'they had been let down by democracy'
They will claim the leavers are xenophobic racists-but it boils down to this-the EU has unelected leaders who are far from 'democratic' and they can't even get their accounts audited. They have certainly not supported Greece. When given the chance to persuade the UK to stay, the EU's attitude was if you don't like it, you can f*** off, rather than see the changes that the UK sought, might actually prevent other countries from seeking in/out referendums.
It is their snotty, stuck up their own arse, deaf, arrogance that has caused the leave vote, and the UK will no doubt suffer some turmoil, but which cash cow are the EU going to recruit to replace the money that came from the UK into their coffers?
If this musician wanted the UK to stay in the EU, he should have campaigned for remain and put forward good reasons why the UK should remain in the EU.
Is this not a parallel with the Argies? They dictate terms to the Falkland Islanders as the EU did to the UK, with supreme disregard to British psychology and with complete ignorance to what the UK/Falkland Islanders request.
With predictable rejections of demands from EU/Argentina.
And Obamy did well didn't he?
You have helped us more than any of our European leaders have but you go to the back of the queue if you leave the EU.
Well perhaps he should get the USA off Ascension Island and Diego Garcia.
Whatever people think of Trump and some of his ideas are disturbing, he made it quite clear that he supported the UK and appreciated the way the UK had helped the USA in the past, and that if he became president, the UK would (rightly) be at the front of the queue.
And strangely, you would have thought the EU would be delighted that Gibraltar and Scotland wished to remain in the EU, to enact some comeback on the UK for 'the affrontery of holding a referendum-how dare we? '
Even that opportunity to 'make the UK pay' is overlooked as the toys leave the pram.