Spain’s voters delivered the governing Socialists a blow by turning to the Conservative opposition.
Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party secured more than 42 per cent of the vote, more than three-and-a-half percentage points ahead of the Socialists. It means 23 of Spain’s 50 MEPs will be from the country’s centre-right, and Rajoy was delighted with the party’s first win in a national election since 2000. “We’ve won these elections, and we’ve done it with a clean fight. It’s our best ever European election result,” he said. There was a considerably more subdued mood at the Socialists’ election headquarters. The leader of the list of socialist candidates put a brave face on the result. “For everyone who argued that Spanish society was disconnected from Europe, we have shown them they were wrong, with a campaign where the Spanish Socialist Party distinguished itself as the leading Socialist party in Europe.” They were only a few percentage points behind the Conservatives, and they will still send 21 MEPs to Strasbourg. But it is still a powerful message for those in charge of a country with soaring unemployment.