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Spain's far-right wins in elections

A Spanish right-wing party doubled its status in a national election Sunday, making it clear how polarized Spanish politics has become and did little to help end the government's long stalemate.

The results were a setback Pedro Sánchez, the acting socialist prime minister, who had hoped the election could strengthen his hand when trying to form a new government.

The election – the fourth in four years – came after months of fruitless coalition talks between Mr. Sánchez & # 39; s party and a smaller leftist party, Unidas Podemos.

Although Mr. Sánchez & # 39; s Socialists came out on top again, winning only 120 of the 350 seats in the House – three fewer seats than in April when the last election was held.

And he told supporters that Vox "would not take a step back" in pushing for a program that includes removing the Spanish regions for their administrative autonomy.

"We have managed to open all the banned debates," he said.

Earlier this month, Mr. used Abascal's first televised debate of choice to ban separatist parties as "criminal organizations." He called for a second term of direct rule over Catalonia by Madrid, tougher than that imposed in late 2017 after separatist leaders made an unsuccessful attempt to declare independence.

Mr. Abascal also peppered his remarks with xenophobic comments about migrants and Islam. His party has called for building walls around two Spanish enclaves in Africa to prevent migrants from entering illegally.

Mr. Sánchez could still form a new government if he manages to get support from not only Unidas Podemos but other smaller parties, including Basque and Catalan.

Help may come from the anti-secessionist ciudadanos party. It has long been an opponent of Mr. Sánchez, but its disastrous showing on Sunday, as its representation dropped to 10 seats from 57, could possibly lead to a change in party leadership.

Sánchez, referring to his supporters from the balcony of his party block just before midnight, celebrated the victory of his party, whether it was smaller, and promised to form a new government. He called on his rivals to show "generosity and responsibility" to help end the stalemate, but offered nothing on how he could win them in a new round of negotiations.

Other parties did not seem well disposed to the prime minister.

Pablo Iglesias, head of Unidas Podemos, accused him of "leaving us with one of the strongest right-wing parties in Europe." And Íñigo Errejón, leader of another small leftist party, said the emergence of Vox was "the symptom of a democratic meltdown and the result of a historic responsibility" – Mr. Sánchez & # 39; s decision to risk another election rather than forming a leftist coalition.

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