Spain election: PP leads but no party emerges with enough absolute support to form government

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A woman cast her vote in Madrid on Sunday.


Spain Then it seems destined for painful political negotiations Election on Sunday, no single party has won enough parliamentary seats to form a government. Prospects for an alliance now remain uncertain.

With 99% of the votes counted, the center-right Partido Popular (PP) is on track to win 136 seats. The PP’s potential coalition partner, the upstart far-right Vox party, is predicted to win 33 seats.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s ruling centre-left Socialist Party meanwhile will win 122 seats, while coalition partners Sumer will win 31.

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Supporters wait for election results outside PP headquarters.

To form a government, a party or coalition must secure a majority of 176 seats in the 350-seat assembly.

PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo said he was “very proud” during a speech at party headquarters, praising his party’s increase in vote share from 21% to 33%.

Despite the party-like atmosphere at PP headquarters, opposition supporters told CNN they expected a clear victory.

“We thought we’d get more,” said Mercedes Gonzalez, an English professor in Madrid.

And Fernando del Rio, a 21-year-old web designer from Madrid, said he was also displeased. “People spoke out against the socialist government, but it didn’t materialize in the votes,” he said.

Meanwhile, supporters cheered outside the Socialist Party headquarters.

Agustin Salutes, 64, a retired civil servant, told CNN he was pleased with the results. Because we didn’t expect to get so many votes. We thought we would lose. It’s a tough campaign against Sanchez,” he said.

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“(Sanchez) needs to make deals with pro-independence parties in Catalonia and the Basque Country to win the investment,” Saludes added.

Sunday’s vote was a political gamble for Sánchez after his party suffered major setbacks in regional and local elections in May. Amid a shift to the right in European politics across the continent, the PP scored major victories that month.

Most polls predict the PP will win more votes on Sunday, but it will lose its absolute majority in parliament, meaning it will have to form a coalition with the far-right Vox party.

Such an arrangement would have caused controversy with a far-right party entering government for the first time in decades. But Sunday’s vote count does not offer an easy path to forming a right-wing coalition.

Vox, which supports policies that would roll back equal protections for women and LGBTQ people, lost a handful of seats last Sunday in the poll, down from the 52 seats it won in the last election.

Several smaller regional parties are also set to win seats, many of which previously supported Sánchez’s government.

Andres Villena, a professor at Madrid’s Complutense University, told CNN before the vote that Sánchez made “a complicated chess move” in the election and could beat Feijo, the longtime leader of the National Party in northwestern Spain, who has been in charge of the National Party since April 2022.

During Sánchez’s time in government, he pushed a progressive agenda, including policies including women’s rights and the euthanasia law. These reforms won votes in urban areas, but the pace of change led to backlash in other parts of the country.

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It could be weeks before the country’s path forward becomes clear, as parties vie to form a government and intra-party talks involving Spain’s King Felipe VI.

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