This was Spain’s fourth general election in four years, after a previous vote in April left no majority and the winning Socialists unable to form a coalition. Sunday’s results proved equally uncertain.
Results in full (350 seats in total):
- Socialists (Pedro Sanchez) – 120 seats
- Popular Party (Pablo Casado) – 88 seats
- Vox (Santiago Abascal) – 52 seats
- Unidas Podemos (Pablo Iglesias) – 35 seats
- Citizens (Albert Rivera) – 10 seats
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What does this mean?
The governing Socialists won the most seats, but still three shorter than in April’s vote.
Despite previously failed attempts to form a coalition, leader Pedro Sanchez said his priority now was to “form a stable government and do politics for the benefit of the majority of Spaniards.”
He said: “I would like to make a call to all the political parties because they need to act with generosity and responsibility in order to unblock the political situation in Spain.”
After failing to form a government, Mr Sanchez had hoped that calling another election would strengthen his party’s hand.
However, Pablo Iglesias, leader of left-wing Podemos, warned that it had only reinforced the far right.
Indeed, one of the most significant factors of the election is the huge surge for far-right party Vox, now the third biggest party.
Albert Rivera, leader of Ciudadanos said: “Spaniards have wanted more Sánchez for this legislature, but Spaniards have also wanted more Vox and less of the political centre.”
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Vox is thought to have benefited at the ballot box from the Catalan crisis, and strong anti-separatist sentiment in other regions of Spain.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal told crowds after the election: “Today a patriotic alternative and a social alternative has been consolidated in Spain that demands national unity the restoration of constitutional order in Catalonia.”
The results mark a significant moment for the wave of right-wing populism which has spread across Europe in the last decade.
Spain had previously seemed immune to far-right messages, with many remembering the military dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
But now Vox has established itself as a major force in Spanish politics.
France’s far-right party leader Marine Le Pen took to Twitter to congratulate Vox’s “staggering progress”.
Italian populist Matteo Salvini also spoke of his pleasure at seeing Vox’s success.
He tweeted: “Not at all racism and fascism, in Italy as in Spain we just want to live peacefully in our own home.”
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