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.
The PP won 137 seats in the 350-strong parliament, compared to 123 seats last time, still short of the 176 needed for an outright majority.
“We have won the elections — we claim the right to govern,” Rajoy told the crowd in Cibeles Square. “Now it’s about being useful to 100 percent of the Spanish people.”
The election results confounded exit polls and suggested voters had shied away from the two newcomers, Unidos Podemos and Ciudadanos,
The Socialists, led by Pedro Sanchéz, fell to 85 seats from 90 last time out, while anti-establishment group Podemos was unchanged on 71.
The leader of Spain’s Ciudadanos party Albert Rivera said he is ready to initiate talks with the PP party and discuss the question of forming a coalition government.
The two combined would fall just seven seats short of a majority, putting pressure on the Socialists to drop their opposition to a PP-led government.
Spain now enters another round of backroom talks to see which parties can form a governing coalition, a task that eluded them despite months of negotiations following the December vote.
This time, politicians will be under pressure to reach a deal quickly given the uncertainty and confusion sweeping Europe after Britain’s vote last week to leave the EU.
Yes we can #rubicity— Monica Querol (@estimorubi) June 26, 2016
PP_Rubi</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/PPopular">PPopular from Mexico 💖 pic.twitter.com/G5B4KRs9HO