THE conservative People’s Party (PP) led by Mariano Rajoy has won a record victory in a general election dominated by the country’s looming debt crisis.
The centre right party won an absolute majority – the biggest majority for any party in three decades – winning 186 of the 350 seats in parliament.
Meanwhile, the outgoing Socialists were dealt a crushing defeat losing a third of their seats in what was their worst result since democracy was restored to Spain in 1977.
Only Barcelona and Sevilla were won by PSOE, leaving the rest of the nation painted blue.
It comes as voters were seen to be punishing the Socialists for their handling of the worst economic crisis in generations which has left 23 per cent of Spaniards unemployed.
The new government is now expected to carry out sweeping reforms and impose further austerity measures in a bid to prevent Spain being dragged deeper into a debt storm threatening the whole euro zone.
“It is no secret to anyone that we are going to rule in the most delicate circumstances Spain has faced in 30 years,” explained Rajoy, 56, who finally won after his third attempt to lead the conservative Popular Party to victory in a general election.
“Difficult times are coming,” he added.
“Spain’s voice must be respected again in Brussels and Frankfurt. We will stop being part of the problem and will be part of the solution.”
Rajoy now faces the daunting task of winning over the financial markets and announcing who will be appointed to the key position as economy minister in the new government.
Meanwhile Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will stay on as caretaker prime minister for another month as parliament must meet and the king has to consult political parties before a new government is formed.
Parliament does not sit until December 13.