PP Wins Spanish General Elections but Lacks Majority

PP Wins Spanish General Elections but Lacks Majority
Fecha de publicación: 
21 December 2015
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MADRID – Spain’s governing center-right Popular Party, or PP, won Sunday’s general elections but came up well short of having an absolute majority in Parliament, while the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, or PSOE, finished second and the new Podemos party ended up third, with 99.43 percent of the ballots counted.

PP leader and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy claimed victory in the general elections and said he would “try to form a stable government.”

“Spain needs security, stability, certainty and confidence,” Rajoy said in an address delivered from the balcony of PP headquarters in Madrid.

This new stage in Spain’s political history makes it “necessary to have much dialogue and reach agreements,” Rajoy said, adding that “it’s not going to be easy.”

The PP got 28.71 percent of the vote and 123 seats in the 350-seat lower house of Parliament, while the PSOE garnered 22.02 percent of the vote and 90 seats.

PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez, for his part, acknowledged the PP’s victory and said that party should bear the responsibility of forming a new government.

Sanchez told reporters he was willing to “dialogue, debate and reach agreements” in this new era in Spain, where no party will have an absolute majority in Parliament.

The PSOE leader thanked the nearly 5 million people who supported his party despite the efforts of “a coalition of interests that tried to make the PSOE disappear.”

Podemos, a leftist party with an anti-austerity platform that was formed in early 2014, finished third with 69 seats, while Ciudadanos, a pro-market centrist party also competing in general elections for the first time, ended up in fourth place with 40 seats.

“A new Spain was born today,” Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias told supporters, adding that the “system of taking turns in Spain has ended,” referring to the hold on power enjoyed by the PP and PSOE for decades.

Podemos “is the leading party in Catalonia and the Basque region,” while the PSOE had “the worst election results” of the democratic period, the 37-year-old Iglesias said.

The results will create a highly fragmented Parliament, making it difficult to form a government because even potential alliances will fall short of the number of seats needed for an absolute majority.

The PP’s 122 seats will leave it 54 short of the 176 needed for an absolute majority and it would have to win the support of other parties, especially Ciudadanos.

Albert Rivera, leader of Ciudadanos, said his party made “history” by winning 40 seats in Parliament and becoming the “axis of a new transition” because it will serve as the “depositary of the people of good faith who want Spain to once again be decent.”

Rivera appeared at the Eurobuilding Hotel just before midnight and spoke with the media, saying that his party would stake out the “new political center” in Spain.

Ciudadanos’s goal is to “think about all Spaniards and not to divide them into bands, to renew the way politics is done, and to treat Spaniards like adults,” Rivera said.

The Catalan nationalist ERC party won nine seats and Democracia y Libertad got eight seats, while the Basque nationalist PNV party won six seats.

The remainder of the seats will go to parties with a range of ideologies, including Izquierda Unida, which got two seats.

Voter turnout was 73.21 percent on Sunday, or nearly 4.5 percent higher than in the 2011 general elections.

The results of these tight elections mark the end of the two-party system in place since the 1982 elections, a span during which the two big parties always won at least two-thirds of the vote.

The two new parties – Podemos and Ciudadanos – will enter the new Parliament with strong positions, ending the hegemony enjoyed by the PP and PSOE up to now.

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