Spain left in political uncertainty after yesterday’s elections
So after months of build-up, which became more intense as 20 December got closer, Spaniards took to the voting polls yesterday, many with the hope that their vote would change the way the country has been run for the last four years.
But, with just slightly more participation than in 2011’s elections (73.2% compared to 69%), the results ended, as many expected, without a clear winner.
Despite the fact that Mariano Rajoy’s Conservative Partido Popular won the majority of seats in 13 out of Spain’s 17 regions, it lost huge support in Andalucía, the Valencia Region and Madrid.
The end result has led to a minority win for the Partido Popular, with 123 seats – a long way off the 176 required for a majority win.
The PP is still the most voted for party, but in comparison to four years ago, it has lost more than 60 seats. In yesterday’s election, the PP only won with 29% of the votes.
The second most voted for party was the PP’s main opposition, the PSOE, who obtained 90 seats, also a long way off 2011’s results of 110. PSOE became the main force in Andalucía and in Extremadura.
For the first time in any election, Pablo Iglesias’ anti-austerity party Podemos made a grand entrance, racking up a total of 69 seats, becoming the first party in Cataluña and the second in the Valencia Region, and liberal Ciudadanos, also new to the elections, obtained 40 seats, its best result in Madrid, with 7 seats.
This wasn’t the outcome that everyone was hoping for and it has left a very fragmented situation in Spain. The political scene is no longer a two-horse race between the PP and PSOE, as 85% of the votes now belongs to four parties, if you include Podemos and Ciudadanos.
The problem now is that neither of the two ideal coalitions that could be formed (PP-Ciudadanos or PSOE-Podemos) would have a majority of 176 seats and so now the country faces a period of instability as the main parties embark on negotiations to see if a coalition can be made.
At the moment, the whole political situation is up in the air, and it could be weeks or even months before a decision is agreed upon.
With unemployment levels still really high and austerity measures extremely unpopular, it is highly possible that a left-wing coalition is formed and the Conservatives are ousted.
Whatever happens, the parties have two months to form a pact otherwise another election must be held.