SPAIN’S socialists have won the country’s fourth general election in as many years, but without an absolute majority.
The PSOE, led by acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, has taken just 120 seats out of a possible 350 – three less than the April 28 election
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The poor result – after 100% of the votes have been counted – means more political headaches for Spain’s leader and leaves the country facing another hung parliament.
Sanchez will be forced once again into talks with the anti-austerity Podemos party, which saw its seats in Parliament decrease by seven to 35.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said, ‘starting tomorrow’, he would get back around the negotiating table with Sanchez.
It comes after Sanchez called these elections when talks between the two left wing parties broke down and no government could be formed.
The other main story of election night was the success of the far right Vox party, which has campaigned on a platform of anti-immigration and pledges to get tough on Catalunya’s independence movement.
Led by Santiago Abascal, the party has taken 52 seats, more than doubling the 24 it took in April’s vote.
Vox was the largest party in several areas across the Costa del Sol and Andalucia, including Estepona (26.7%), Benahavis (31.77%), Coin (29.4%) and Alhaurin el Grande (31.77%).
The rise of the far right, which Spain had resisted until recently, unlike other European countries, is coupled with the demolition of Spain’s centrist party, Ciudadanos.
Its leader, Albert Rivera, said he will not resign, despite his party shedding 2.5 million votes and only gaining 10 seats – 47 fewer than last time.
Spain now faces an unlikely coalition of smaller parties, along with the larger PSOE and Podemos, in order to reach the required majority of 176.
The seats gained by socialist breakaway party Mas Pais, the ERC and JxCAT will be needed to reach a majority.
However, a left wing block of the PSOE, Podemos and Mas Pais only adds up to 159 seats, 17 short of a majority.
Meanwhile, a right wing coalition of the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox similarly falls short with a total of 150.