The Socialists of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez have emerged again as the strongest force in the parliamentary elections in Spain, but a government majority is not in sight. According to partial results on Sunday evening, the Socialists with 124 seats were clearly ahead of the Conservatives, which could improve significantly with 83 seats. The far-right party Vox was therefore the third strongest force and was able to more than double its previous result to 53 seats.
According to the partial results of 64 percent of the votes, the liberals of Ciudadanos lost the most: instead of 57 deputies, they now only ten MPs in Parliament. The left-leaning Podemos fell slightly from 42 to 35 seats back, their split Más País came to three MPs.
Accordingly, a stalemate for Spain emerged: Neither the left camp around Sánchez nor the right camp of its challenger Pablo Casado of the conservative PP would come to the necessary absolute majority of 176 of the 350 votes in parliament.
A large coalition after the German model with the conservative People's Party, which is likely to become the second strongest force, has excluded Sanchez.
Sánchez could rely on a minority government with the support of the left-wing camp and regional parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia. After the election in April, the socialist had not been able to agree with Podemos on a government coalition. As a result, the early election had become necessary.
Right-wing Vox party characterizes the election campaign
The election campaign was characterized by the strengthening of the far-right Vox party and the dispute over Catalonia. The dispute over Catalonia escalated after the Supreme Court in Madrid on 14 October imprisonment of up to 13 years against leading representatives of the independence movement. Since then, there have been repeated mass protests in the region, as well as violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
Sánchez had promised in a TV debate with the other leading candidates to ban referendums on the independence of Spain "once and for all." Vox boss Santiago Abascal did not go far enough. He demanded that Catalan regional president Quim Torra be "handcuffed" and put on trial. The Vox party builds on the legacy of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. (Reuters, dpa, AFP)