Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular may have come first in the voting but if he is to form a new government he may have to do it in a coalition with one or more parties on the left that have radically different views to his own.
Aside from the largest socialist party, who came second, that could mean dealing with Podemos, the movement born out of austerity and street protests.
Now well and truly a mainstream political party they won 69 seats and can’t be ignored. Their name translates as ‘we can’ and its leader, Pablo Iglesias, believes they have proved they can:
“Today is an historic day. A new political era has begun with the end of the two party system.”
The other new kid on the block is a party born in Catalonia – Ciudadanos – or Citizens. The socially-liberal, free marketeers have stolen a fair chunk of centre ground, promising reforms and an end to corruption under their young and charismatic leader, Albert Rivera:
“Millions of Spaniards have decided that this country is going to change. They’ve said enough of deference; enough of reds and blues and blues and reds. Spain has changed. We wanted change and tonight we see more and more Spaniards want change, more dialogue, and above all, change with reform.”
Gracias a los 3,5 millones de españoles que han confiado en nosotros. Comienza una nueva etapa, llena de ilusión! pic.twitter.com/LbiwLJt4zD— Ciudadanos (@CiudadanosCs) December 21, 2015
Ciudadanos are the most natural partners for the Partido Popular, but even with their seats, it might be enough for Mariano Rajoy.