Spain’s Socialist opposition leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba has stepped down after his party suffered its worst election result on Sunday.
The Socialists lost nine European parliament seats. The ruling People’s Party lost eight. Together the two parties, that have dominated Spanish politics for decades, took less than half the vote.
“It’s clear that we haven’t regained voters’ confidence,” Rubalcaba said. “There has to be new leadership that takes on change.”
Many voters, weary from the recession and unhappy with wage cuts, lays offs and corruption scandals turned their attention, and their votes, to Podemos, a new left-wing party led by university lecturer Pablo Iglesias.
“Our challenge for tomorrow is to build an alternative government with other political parties for our country,” he said.
“We will work with others from the south of Europe to send a message that we do not want to be a colony of Germany or the Troika,” added Iglesias.
Registered in March, Podemos, Spanish for ‘We Can,’ took 8 percent of the vote and five seats in the European Parliament.
Podemos did especially well in the Madrid region where there are more than 6 million residents. There, it was the third most voted-for party.