Stalemate in Spanish election as Socialists win with no majority and right wing Vox doubles seats
Pedro Sanchez's Socialist PSOE party won Sunday's general election in Spain, the fourth in four years, with 120 seats — short of the 176 they needed for a majority. So the nation remains in a political stalemate.
But perhaps the real story of the night belongs to the far-right party Vox who look to have risen to third place, with 52 lawmakers with 96% of the votes have been counted.
"We have changed the political landscape of Spain politics in eleven months and we have begun a political and cultural revolution. We have reopened debates and demonstrated to the left that they have no moral superiority. Today, the Spanish Parliament is more plural", Vox leader Santiago Abascal said.
READ MORE: Who are Vox and what do they stand for?
The second position is held by the conservative Popular Party (PP), with 88 seats out of a total of 350 deputies who make up the Spanish Congress. These results do not give the right or left bloc the absolute majority to form a government.
READ MORE: As Spanish voters return to polls, here is what’s shaping the election
What have we learned from this general election?
The rise of the far-right in Spain
Spain, along with Portugal, where a rare case in the European Union as they did not have far-right parties represented in their parliament. However, in the elections of April 28th Spain was no longer the exception and the Vox party burst into Congress with 24 deputies,
In November, the party led by Santiago Abascal doubled its number of seats and became the country's third-largest force. Behind this good result is the intensification of the independence struggle in the streets due to the publication of the sentence to the Catalan independence politicians in prison.
The relevance of Catalonia's conflict
The rise of Vox can be linked to the Catalan independence movement, which has been intensified in the last month after the announcement of prison sentences for the separatist Catalan politicians.
The vote in Catalonia had a relevant role in this election. Often, the formation of the National Executive has been decided thanks to the votes of Catalonia, something of which the Catalans are aware, although this time they go to the polls even more divided than in the previous elections.
At the national level, the crisis in the region could provoke a shift to the right and even to the extreme right by the antiseparatist rhetoric of its candidates to respond to the radicalisation of a sector of independence following the Supreme Court's sentencing of 12 separatist leaders.
The complexity of the coalitions
After the Sunday's election, the possible ways to form a majority in the Spanish Parliament have become even more complicated.
"Our plan is not to continue winning elections, we want to form a stable government," said the leader of the Spanish Socialists Pedro Sanchez, before calling on all political parties to act with "responsibility and generosity" to unblock the situation. "This time we are going to achieve a progressive government", he claimed.
Sánchez has said that he is willing to negotiate with all political formations, except those that promote hate speech, in reference to the far-right Vox, one of the big winners of the night.
The great defeat of the Citizens party
"We have lost almost half of the votes," announced Albert Rivera, leader of Citizens after learning of the unprecedented electoral setback of his party. "There are still a million and a half people who have voted for Citizens and they are the real heroes tonight", the liberal leader said.
Rivera has summoned a national executive on Monday to analyse the reasons for his debacle at the polls, which has gone from 57 to 10 seats in seven months but has not cleared the mystery about his possible resignation.
Voter's apathy and fatigue
This is the fourth time Spaniards have gone to the polls in four years to elect a national parliament that has been unable to form a government and people have lost interest.
The turnout in this Sunday's Spanish general election was 56.8% at 18.00 hours (1700 GMT), almost four points below that recorded in the previous elections on April 28, when it was 60.7%. The turnout rate at 18.00 is, together with the 2016 figure, the lowest since 2000.
Participation has decreased in all Spanish communities, mainly in the regions of Extremadura and Murcia.