A mixed night for Spain’s Socialists after they gain power in one region and lose it in another.
Although the left wingers in the Basque country under Patxi Lopez failed to win a majority, they could form a coalition with the conservatives. On the night it was the moderate Basque Nationalist Party which won the most seats but it cannot form a majority coalition. With only one seat separating the two groupings, 38 to 37, some tough negotiations are expected between the Socialists Party and the conservative Popular Party who make unlikely allies. But if a coalition emerges it will be the first time since the region became semi-autonomous that a non-nationalist regional government will rule. Analysts believe that while nationalist sentiment usually prevails in the region, the strong showing of the other parties was due to a combination of economic concerns and a growing rejection of violent attacks attributed to the armed separatists ETA.