October 26 officially marked four years of political limbo for Spain. Starting in autumn of 2015 when Mariano Rajoy called for elections, a consolidated government hasn’t been formed since. Two general elections and a vote of no confidence later, meant Spaniards would have to visit the ballot boxes once again. Turbulence and disorientation reigned in the months running up to November 10, with parties desperately trying to strengthen their standing.
However, further confusion follows the general elections after a very divided vote. The repeat national election was meant to break the deadlock, but has only managed to block the political sphere even more.
The third elections have been a fiasco for the left, that could have easily avoided them by joining forces. Far from reinforcing acting government PSOE, the results have boosted right-wing party PP and meant the rise of far-right party Vox. Pedro Sánchez -acting president- has won the elections a second time, but will find forming Government an even harder task than back in April. His main allies, Unidas Podemos, have gone from 45 seats to 35 and new party Más País has only managed three seats
PP has gone from 66 seats to a healthy 88 and Vox has increased from 24 to 52, in a big breakthrough for the far-right. PSOE had faced the elections with confidence, but has instead lost three seats.
Results for Ciudadanos have seen the party sink from 57 to a measly 10 seats. Their leader, Albert Rivera, shocked his party with a swift resignation following the news. Until a year ago, Spain was the only European country without a xenophobic party in Congress. Now, Vox has achieved 962.000 more votes than in April and can be considered the third political force in the country.
The ghost of a Left-wing coalition will haunt Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias -leader of Unidas Podemos- who weren’t able to reach an agreement over the Summer. Sunday’s election has seen their votes plummet and their options grow slimmer.
General participation went down all over the country, with citizens having grown weary of the legislative instability. It was notable that in areas of high agricultural activity and greenhouses, Vox received considerable support. Algeriras, Estepona, Mazarrón, Cartagena and Torre Pacheco are some of the areas where Vox received a generous backing.
Going forward, options are limited and negotiations will be complex. The simple days of bipartisanship are a thing of the past and now Spain will have to contend with coalitions and the new age of politics. The blockage continues, but there is maybe one advantage: it will be hard to force yet another election.