Social Democrats again the largest in Spain, right-wing parties on the rise

The Social Democratic Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) won the elections in Spain on Sunday. The party of the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has obtained 120 of the 350 seats. The moral winner, however, seems to be the radical right-wing party Vox, which more than doubled its seats.
The five largest parties:

  • PSOE: 120 seats (-3 compared to the previous elections)
  • PP: 88 seats (+22)
  • Vox: 52 seats (+28)
  • Unidas Podemos: 35 seats (-7)
  • Ciudadanos: 10 seats (-47)

However, forming a coalition is becoming difficult for both sides of the political spectrum. According to the latest exit polls, a right-wing government, led by Partido Popular (PP) and supported by Vox and the center-right Ciudadanos, would lose dozens of seats for a majority. The latter party was the big loser of the evening and had to give up nearly fifty seats.

The PSOE can lick its wounds with a loss of a few seats. The chance of a left-wing pro-European government that Prime Minister Sánchez has in mind has shrunk considerably because left-wing populist Unidas Podemos had to give up considerably.

Sánchez, for example, has to ask the Catalan independence parties for help. The PSOE leader and leader of Podemos have already said they will discuss this on Monday evening.

Sánchez said in a speech that he gives priority to forming a stable government, taking into account the majority of Spaniards. “I want to appeal to the political parties to unblock the political situation in Spain,” said the outgoing Prime Minister.
The radical right spins yarn in the unrest in Catalonia

On Sunday the fourth elections were held in four years in the country, after talks between the PSOE and Podemos went wrong in September.

The radical right-wing party Vox appears to have benefited from the unrest in Catalonia. In mid-October, nine Catalan leaders were sentenced to years of imprisonment for incitement at the independence referendum in 2017, after which massive protests broke out.

Vox follows a hard line with regard to Catalonia and other much-discussed topics such as immigration. That gave the party the first 24 seats in April. During the recent elections, Vox leader Santiago Abascal again emphasized the importance of a “united Spain”.

It is not unlikely that the Spaniards will have to go to the polls again at the beginning of 2020. A poll by El País showed that more than half of the Spaniards expect that no coalition can be forged after Sunday’s elections.

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