Spain political elections: Populars win but it’s a power rebus. Current President Sanchez holds, the far-right Vox does not break through

Elizabeth Smith

The political elections in Spain have decreed a clear winner: Feijóo’s Popular Party obtained over 33% of the votes and 136 seats, leaving the PSOE socialists at 31.70% and 122 seats. A very strong comeback compared to the 2019 elections, when only 89 seats were won. But not enough for the conservative leader to hope to form a right-wing government.

The problem is the débacle of the far-right Vox party. Santiago Abascal’s formation only obtained 12.4% of the vote, equal to 33 seats, 19 fewer than those currently held. A huge disappointment for the post-Francoists.

Political elections in Spain: the numbers

The Popular Party led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, in the general election, obtained 136 seats in Parliament. Pedro Sanchez’s Psoe 122, Santiago Abascal’s Vox 33. And Yolanda Diaz’s progressive platform Sumar 31. These are the figures released by the Ministry of the Interior, with 99.9% of the ballots counted.

The Catalan independence parties Erc and Junts obtained 7 seats each, EH Bildu 6 and the Basque Nationalist Party 5. The Pp and Vox together failed to reach an absolute majority in the Congress of Deputies, amounting to 176 seats.

In the Senate, on the other hand, the Pp can count on an absolute majority of 143 seats, against the Socialists’ 92.

More than 8 million voters voted for the Pp while the Psoe collected 7.7 million votes. Vox lost over 600,000 votes compared to 2019, coming in at just over 3 million. Sumar got more than 3 million votes.

Voter turnout stood at 70.40 per cent. Thus higher than previous polls in 2019. A record in postal voting was reported since it was introduced in 2015, with 2.6 million voters expressing their preference by mail.

Feijóo: ‘The prime minister is whoever has the most votes’

Feijóo immediately claimed the right to form the next government. “Our obligation now is that a period of uncertainty does not open in Spain,” said the president of the Popular Party (Pp). Thus commenting on the general election results in front of supporters in Madrid.

“The Spaniards today have given confidence to the Pp and they have also asked all the parties in the parliamentary arc to dialogue,” he added, “as the candidate of the party with the most votes, I believe my duty is to open the dialogue, lead it from the first minute and try to govern our country in accordance with the electoral results and the electoral victory.”

The Popular Party president then asked the Psoe of the prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, to ‘not block’ his attempt to form an executive. “Let the prime minister be whoever has the most votes,” he concluded. “Spain does not stop, we have won and it is up to us to form the government, as has always been the case.”

Abascal (Vox): ‘Ready to oppose or go back to the polls’

“We have not achieved our goal of ousting Sanchez,” Vox leader Santiago Abascal, speaking from his party’s headquarters in Madrid, commented on the election result.

“I see a lot of celebration in the headquarters of the other parties, it seems that everyone has won and that is why I take this opportunity to congratulate Feijóo as the winner of the elections. He did it not depending on Vox, as he wanted,’ he said.

He then attacked the media. “Throughout the election campaign we were warned of clearly manipulated polls that had a clear consequence: demobilisation,” he said. “In addition, we have seen the media appealing for a useful vote and demonising Vox,” he added. “There has been a lot of manipulation by all the public and private media.”

Sanchez: “There are more of us, many more of us who want Spain to move forward”

The interim president of the government and leader of the Psoe, Pedro Sánchez, celebrated in front of the Ferraz headquarters the good results obtained by his party, with more seats and percentage of votes than in 2019. Despite being second after the PP. And expressed his intention to govern after stating that the setback blockade had failed.

Sánchez recalled that after the regional and municipal elections of 28 May, in which the PP wrested much of the territorial power from the PSOE, he called early general elections because he believed Spain had to decide which path to take. ‘A course of progress in the next four years or a course of regression as the PP’s involutionist bloc with Vox proposes’.

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The hypothesis of new elections

Even counting Vox (third force in the decline in support) and the other minor parties, the right-wingers stop at 171 seats. Thus five short of the absolute majority that would secure the mandate to form a new government.

The current Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez sees his hopes of remaining in office rekindled. By uniting the forces of the PSOE and those of the new left-wing party, Sumar (heir of Podemos), to the Catalan and Basque autonomists, theoretically, a majority is possible. Albeit a slim one.

The Junts per Catalunya knot remains. Nothing at the moment would presage that Puigdemont’s party would give the green light to Sanchez without raising the bar of its independence demands very high.

Should a stable majority not be found, the possibility of new elections looms, bringing the hands back to 2019. In that year, a vote was held in April and then in November to form a government with a stable left-wing majority.

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