The conservative People’s Party (PP) of acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy won most seats in Spain’s parliamentary election on Sunday, increasing the number from the last election in December.
With most votes counted the PP has at least 137 seats in the 350-strong parliament, compared to 123 seats last time, but it is still short of the 176 seats needed for an absolute majority.
Unidos Podemos, (“Together We Can”), a coalition led by anti-austerity party Podemos, was hoping to knock the Socialists into third place but appears to have failed taking only 71 seats. The Socialists won 85.
Liberal Ciudadanos, meanwhile, would repeat its fourth-place showing in December with 26 to 30 seats, the exit poll showed.
Hours earlier, asked what they think would happen, voters in Madrid sounded a note of weariness.
“More or less the same as last time – difficult to reach an accord, and if it’s impossible we’ll have to do it all over again,” said one man, Zacarias.
“I hope for a little rationality, some commonsense, the idea of change – things need to change, but it’s one thing to have a revolution, another to evolve,” said another man, Ignacio Calderon.
As unemployment hits 20 percent one thing is clear: further frustrating deadlock will be very unwelcome.