37 million Spaniards voted Sunday for the country’s fourth national election in an atmosphere marred by the crisis in Catalonia and the rise of the far-right.
As Spaniards voted Sunday for the country’s fourth national election in four years, the outcome seems to be confirming the nation’s political instability. The elections, which delivered a highly fragmented parliament, resulted in a win by the Socialist Party of Spain (PSOE) of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez followed by the conservative People’s Party (PP) and the far-right Vox party as the country’s third political force.
Despite the PSOE winning the elections with 120 seats, the result was further away from a majority and with fewer seats than in the previous ballot in the 350-seat Parliament. While for the right this election proved very positive as the PP’s conservatives managed to gain more seats after the worst defeat in the party’s history in April rising from 66 to 88 and the far-right Vox saw a huge leap from 24 to 52 seats.
For the left, it was a another defeat, as the Left-wing Podemos party fell from 42 to 35 seats. Yet it was the liberals from Centre-right Ciudadanos who underwent the biggest upset, losing 47 seats and ending up with 10, which likely went to the far-right party.
Vox, an ultra-nationalist and anti-migration party, was created five years ago and it is continuing its rise as it just became the third political force in the European country where far-right was relatively insignificant after the end of the military dictatorship of General Francisco Franco in 1975.
The crisis in Catalonia which dominated the elections after the latest unrest that caused 600 injured people, seems to have played in favor of the far-right party.
Santiago Abascal, its the leader is calling for the end of the separatist parties, the suspension of Catalonia’s autonomy and the arrest of its independentist president Quim Torra.
Prime Minister Sanchez tried to mobilize the leftist electorate against Vox’s rise presenting the party as a return to Franco’s era and denouncing the right-wing parties that allied with the far-right to take the control over Andalusia, Spain’s most populated region, and Madrid, the richest one.
The results reporting a minority Socialist government, the question would be who its allies could be and how long such a government could last in a very fragmented parliament.
Meanwhile, Pablo Iglesias, Podemos’ leader promised Sunday to "leave behind the reproaches" and help the PSOE to form a left-wing government and thus avoid a right-wing coalition.