Spain: Far-right surges in polls as uncertainty remains
Vox party has become third-largest political force in country
The Socialist Party won a minority government Sunday in Spain’s fourth general elections in four years, but the Spanish Parliament has become more fragmented than ever.
The Socialists, led by Pedro Sanchez, lost three seats compared to the last elections in April. They now have 120 seats – far from the 176 needed to form a majority.
“I call on the generosity of other parties to help end this political blockade,” Sanchez said in a speech.
The Socialist’s natural ally, Unidas Podemos, lost seven seats. For a left-wing formation, the parties would need the support of nationalist parties from various regions.
Sunday’s results have brought four new parties to the parliament. There are now 17 parties altogether, further complicating the puzzle of governability.
Tonight’s big winner was Vox – the far-right party that broke onto the scene in the general elections last April. They more than doubled their presence in parliament tonight, winning 52 seats after a campaign filled with strong rhetoric against Catalan separatism and immigration.
"Just 11 months ago, we didn’t have representation in any main institution. Today, we became the third-largest force in the country,” said Santiago Abascal, the leader of Vox, in a triumphant speech, promising to “restore the constitutional order in Catalonia.”
Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen, far-right politicians in Italy and France, congratulated Vox on Twitter.
Vox’s surge comes mostly at the expense of another right-wing party, Ciudadanos. It lost 47 seats and now holds just 10. The Popular Party, the traditional conservative party, gained 21 seats and now holds 87.
One of the new parties that will enter parliament for the first time is CUP, a radical left-wing separatist party from Catalonia. Combined, Catalan separatist parties won 23 seats.
These results mean that negotiations between politicians are mandatory to avoid more repeat elections, and with parliament being more fractured than it was after the vote in April, the bargaining will be even more difficult.
However, with the positive momentum behind Vox, parties from all sides may be forced to do whatever they can to avoid another round of polls.
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