EXIT polls suggest that the PP have won Sunday’s Spanish election by claiming the most seats, although a governing coalition between Podemos and the PSOE remains a possibility.
With full results due later this evening, polling predictions appear to have been confirmed as Podemos soared above left-centre rivals PSOE to take second place with roughly 91-95 seats in the 350 strong parliament and a full quarter of the vote.
At present the PP are expected to take between 121 and 124 with approximately 29 per cent of the vote, while the PSOE continued their downward spiral with 21 per cent bringing around 83 seats.
It appears as though Ciudadanos are the other main casualty with the emerging party seeing their seats drop from an impressive 40 in December to between 26 and 30, with acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s PP party likely the main beneficiary of the exodus.
Although the result is being portrayed as a victory for his centre-right party, which governed Spain from 2011-2015, there is no guarantee that the PP will be in power after complex coalition negotiations.
Rajoy himself is considered one of the major hurdles to the PP securing an agreement with either Ciudadanos or the PSOE and it is likely both parties would make his resignation a prerequisite for productive talks.
With their strong showing and improvement on December’s outing, Podemos could well taste power if they can delicately pacify hesitation in the PSOE ranks.
In the run up to the vote Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias declared that his party would not make a referendum on Catalonian independence an essential condition of their participation in a governing alliance, removing a key hurdle from previous talks.
Amid the sense of deja vu following December’s inconclusive result, and the likelihood of a lengthy wait before the smoke clears, the real story was a dramatic decline in voter turnout.
After exit polls at 2pm turnout was expected to be a full seven points below December’s 69.7 per cent, a damning indictment of Spain’s broken politics, although postal votes may yet nudge the numbers up.