SPAIN’S conservative Popular Party won a resounding victory in the Madrid region, more than doubling the number of seats delivering a blow to the national ruling Socialist party.

But incumbent president Isabel Díaz Ayuso still fell just short of a majority and will need the far-right Vox party to abstain in order to form a government.

Ayuso secured 44.7% of the vote, taking 65 seats in Madrid’s 136-seat assembly. While the three-party broad left bloc scraped 58 seats between them.

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Because Ayuso and her party won more seats than all three left-wing parties put together (PSOE, Más Madrid and Unidas Podemos), they will only need far-right party Vox’s abstention to govern and not their vote.

The bitter fought election campaign pitted left and right with Ayuso and her defiant tactics to keep Madrid’s bars and shops open despite high infection rates against a left with stricter lockdown policies.

She ran with the slogan “socialism or freedom”, while her opponent Pablo Iglesias, from the left-wing Unidos Podemos spoke of a choice between “democracy or fascism”, highlighting the potential involvement of the far-right Vox party in a future Madrid government.

But the results saw Ayuso more than double the number of seats her party won in the last election while Podemos received such a drubbing that Iglesias stepped down admitting he was done with politics.

More than five million people were eligible to vote in Tuesday’s election and turnout hit a new record with more than 76 percent casting their votes as long queues formed outside polling stations.

Last night hundreds of flag-waving supporters gathered outside the People’s Party (PP) headquarters, chanting “Freedom! Freedom!”

“Today is a turning point for national politics,” said PP chief Pablo Casado, hailing Ayuso as “the leader that Madrid deserves”.

As predicted, centrist party Ciudadanos was completely wiped out as a political force losing all 26 seats it won in the last election two years ago.

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