In Madrid, Mariano Rajoy has led his PP party, the centre right conservatives, to their greatest victory in a Spanish election after over seven years in opposition.
But he told an enthusiastic crowd Spain would not be able to perform miracles to dig it out of the severe economic crisis, but added the country must win back respect in Europe.
Rajoy called for unity in tackling the financial problems and said he would consult all the country’s regions to discuss how to overcome the crisis.
“We can now say we have a substantial majority in both houses, that of deputies, the lower house and the Senate. I want you to know that the task before us will not be easy, but I also want you to know that I am convinced that with everyone’s help we will go forward and Spain will be, indeed the country must be, at the head of Europe,” said Mariano Rajoy.
It was the third time Rajoy had contested an election losing to the Socialists on the last two occasions. He is better known for self restraint, for listening carefully to advisors and for preaching patience than taking strong initiatives or inspiring his followers.
It is expected he will name a heavyweight economy minister to deepen what will be seen as painful austerity measures at home.
He will not be sworn in before December 20.