Spain faces more uncertainty after inconclusive election

Spain faces more uncertainty after inconclusive election

Spain looks set to face political uncertainty for many more months after the country’s fourth election in as many years further complicated an already messy situation.

No party has a clear mandate to govern, while the far right has become a major parliamentary player for the first time in decades after Sunday’s vote.

Incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists won the most seats – 120 – but fell far short of a majority in the 350-seat chamber and will need to make deals on several fronts if they are to govern.

Mr Sanchez called the election after he failed to gain enough support to form a government in the previous election in April.

Supporters of Spain’s far-right Vox party (Andrea Comas/AP)
Supporters of Spain’s far-right Vox party (Andrea Comas/AP)

In his victory speech on Sunday, he promised again to “obtain a progressive government”.

Despite predictions to the contrary, Mr Sanchez had hoped the poll would give him a stronger footing but he actually saw his party seat count drop by three while his closest allies, the far-left United We Can, dropped from 42 to 35.

The next step will be for parliamentarians to select a house speaker in the coming weeks and for talks then between King Felipe VI and party leaders to begin so that one of them, most likely Mr Sanchez, will be called on to try to form a government.

The election’s other bombshell came with voters flocking to the far-right Vox party, giving it 52 seats to become the parliament’s third force, behind the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party, which won 88 seats.

Santiago Abascal, leader of far-right Vox Party (Andrea Comas/AP)
Santiago Abascal, leader of far-right Vox Party (Andrea Comas/AP)

Right-wing populist and anti-migrant leaders across Europe celebrated Vox’s strong showing.

Vox’s surge and the gains by the Popular Party capitalised on Spanish nationalist sentiment stirred up by the Socialists’ handling of the secessionist conflict in Catalonia, the country’s worst political conflict in decades.

Many right-wingers were also not pleased by the Socialist government’s exhumation of late dictator General Francisco Franco’s remains last month from his mausoleum so he could no longer be exalted in a public place.

The Catalan issue promises to continue festering with three Catalan separatist parties winning a combined 23 seats.

Pro-Catalan independence demonstrators block a major road border pass between Spain and France (Felipe Dana/AP)
Pro-Catalan independence demonstrators block a major road border pass between Spain and France (Felipe Dana/AP)

Many Catalans have been angered by the Supreme Court’s prison sentences last month for nine Catalan politicians and activists who led a 2017 drive for the region’s independence. The ruling triggered massive daily protests in Catalonia that left more than 500 people injured, roughly half of them police officers, and dozens arrested.

On Monday, Catalan radicals resumed the protests by blocking a major highway border pass between France and Spain and promising to keep it cut off for three days.

More on this topic

Ex-Catalan minister bailed after arrest under Spanish extradition warrantEx-Catalan minister bailed after arrest under Spanish extradition warrant

Former Catalan minister arrested under extradition warrantFormer Catalan minister arrested under extradition warrant

Socialists lead in Spanish elections, but far-right make gainsSocialists lead in Spanish elections, but far-right make gains

Spain goes to the polls with far right tipped to make gainsSpain goes to the polls with far right tipped to make gains

More in this Section

UK Election debate live: Corbyn and Johnson go head-to-headUK Election debate live: Corbyn and Johnson go head-to-head

Former UK PMs John Major and Tony Blair share platform to oppose BrexitFormer UK PMs John Major and Tony Blair share platform to oppose Brexit

15 killed after shooting in Baghdad square15 killed after shooting in Baghdad square

C-section births not linked to obesity in children, scientists sayC-section births not linked to obesity in children, scientists say


Lifestyle

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner