Spain’s ruling centre-right People’s Party has been dealt a blow ahead of launching a new austerity budget on Friday. Despite being tipped to win, it has failed to secure an outright majority in the Andalucian regional election.
The Socialists have been in power in the region for three decades, but the result suggests the electorate is tired of corruption scandals and high unemployment.
The PP won 50 of the 109 seats in Andalucia, still the most it has ever won. However, the combined totals of the Socialists, with 47, and the United Left on 12 open the possibility of a leftist ruling coalition.
Now it is down to the region’s United Left candidate to play kingmaker to the Socialists, a role Diego Valederas says he is going to relish.
Victory in Andalucia was seen as key as it also has the country’s highest level of unemployment. Spain’s plans to deepen cutbacks in public spending will be felt particularly hard here as it tries to pull itself out of the eurozone debt crisis.
A solid win would have put the PP in control of 12 of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions and also strengthened Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s hand before a general strike on Thursday.