SPAIN’s two dominant political parties now only represent around half the electorate, down from 80 per cent just four years ago after mass numbers of Spaniards turned to emergent parties Podemos and Ciudadanos.
The ruling Popular Party won a total of 123 seats in the 250 member congress, down from 186 in 2011 and leaving them far short of a working majority. Pre-election suggestions of a PP Ciudadanos coalition on the right have also been dashed by the anti-corruption party’s worse than expected 40 seats.
Now even an alliance between the two, which in any case had been ruled out should Rajoy continue as Prime Minister, would fail to capture a majority. Support for a right-wing coalition from regional parties would be fraught with difficult as Ciudadanos is vehemently opposed to any form of separatism.
A left leaning coalition is a possibility should Podemos, who performed remarkably well acquiring 69 seats, decide to lend their weight to a government led by the Socialists PSOE with 90 deputies elected. This may be difficult to swallow as the PSOE, Spain’s main opposition party, suffered their worst election results in history, with many of their past supporters leaving in droves to Podemos. With accrued support from regional parties, however, who tend to be on the left, a feasible coalition could emerge.
In terms of percentages, the PP won 28.7 per cent, the PSOE 22 per cent, Podemos 20.7 per cent, and Ciudadanos 13.9 per cent. Other regional and special interest parties made up the remaining 10.8 per cent.
The negotiations are expected to take weeks with the onus being on Rajoy’s PP to take the initiative given they won the most votes, but a second term for the Prime Minister himself is far from certain.