The ruling Socialist Party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has taken the lead in the Spanish general elections held on Sunday. But it will fell short of getting simple majority to form the government. Socialist Party known as PSOE will need the support of other smaller parties to form a coalition government. PSOE expected to win 126 seats. It won 85 seats in last general elections in 2016.
The decision of PM Sanchez to hold the snap election has paid off as his party increased the seats from 85 to 126, an increase of 41 seats. It got 29% vote nationally. Previously, Sanchez led a minority government of 85 deputies, with the support of a handful of independence-favoring Catalonian parties.
The general election failed to end the political stalemate and impasse as no political party succeeded to win the simple majority to form a stable government. The voters on Sunday went to polling stations with the hope to end the political fragmentation in Spain. But third general election in last four years has failed to end the fragmentation. The turnout was a high 75 percent, and all 350 seats in Spain’s Congress of Deputies were up for grabs.
Spain’s main rightwing capitalist center-right People’s Party (PP) looks to have been eviscerated at the polls, netting only 65 seats, or 16 percent of the vote. It won 137 seats in 2016 elections which mean a loss of 62 seats in 2019. It is the worst election result for PP and historic low votes. It has lost significant support in last couple of years. The PP formed the government after 2016 elections but was ousted from power following a no-confidence motion from opposition leader Sánchez last year.
Populist centrist party Ciudadanos – which represents Catalonians who oppose the region’s independence movement – looks set to take 57 seats, or 15 percent of the vote. The party scored 32 seats in 2016.
Left-wing anti-austerity party Podemos lost out on Sunday, taking 35 seats, or 12 percent of the vote. The party, which sought to attract left-wing voters dissatisfied with the PSOE, has been rocked by infighting since it won 45 seats in 2016.
The rise of right-wing contenders Vox has been watched closely by the world’s media. Strongly opposed to regional independence movements and proudly against the liberalism of Sánchez’s PSOE, Vox was supported by former Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon.
The hardline conservatives are on track to pick up 24 seats, or 10 percent of the vote. Although some media outlets hungry to depict the “rise of the far right” predicted a higher score, 10 percent is a significant jump from 2016, when the party won only 0.2 percent of the vote. It attracted the more conservative layers of the society which was used to vote for PP in the past. The rise of the far right VOX party has bitten off the more hardline conservative voters from PP.
The “most probable possibility is the socialist party supported by minority and regional parties.” Podemos could also lend their support to a left-wing coalition, as could the centrists of Ciudadanos. PSOE is in far better position to put together the coalition of centre right and left parties.
Hopes for a right-wing coalition have been all but dashed. The PP, Ciudadanos, and Vox could band together, but would still come up more than 30 seats short of a majority, and could not dream of securing the support of any of the regional independence parties.
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26 May, 2019