Spain Votes: Socialists win elections, far right make gains

May 01, 2019, 01:36
Spain Votes: Socialists win elections, far right make gains

Having voted in all elections since Spain returned to democratic rule four decades ago, Amelia Gomez, 86, and Antonio Roman, 90, said they had little faith in any candidate.

CommonSpace answers some of the key questions about the result and what it means in just 1000 words.

Spain's Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez gestures to supporters outside the party headquarters following the general election in Madrid on Sunday.

So in that sense they "won" the election, but they haven't secured enough seats to govern. In the first round, an absolute majority of votes (176) is needed to appoint a new prime minister.

Sanchez appears to have two options to put together a coalition.

The Socialists could even try to forego the support of Catalan separatists, now that it has more seats than before. Therefore, an abstention of parties outside of the P-Cs-Vox parties could enable a PSOE-UP government to be formed, potentially without resorting to the Catalan pro-independence parties.

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Sanchez believes lawmakers from Catalan separatist parties, which gained ground from 2016 polls by going from 17 to 22 seats, "are not reliable".

The issue has continued to cast a pall over Spanish politics.

As such, Rivera could be angling to replace the PP in leading Spain's right-wing.

So Sanchez might not be able to build a coalition?strong>.

In Spain, support can take the form of a party joining a government as a minority partner or it can be in the form of explicit/implicit support in parliament. The deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo has already indicated that this will be the path they take. If the Socialist and Citizens parties joined forces, they would have a majority - but according to El País, Citizens leader Albert Rivera said during the campaign that he wouldn't make deals with Sánchez's government. It's the first time since the Franco dictatorship that a fascist party won more than one seat in Spain's parliament. So in that sense this election result represents a very dark moment for all anti-fascists.

"They say they will protect the unity of Spain".

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Why has support for Vox grown so quickly?strong>. But there are two specific, contemporary factors at play: one is the rise in authoritarian and xenophobic Spanish nationalism in response to the Catalan independence crisis.

Forging cross-party alliances has proved hard for political negotiators and has unsettled Spanish governments.

Experts believed that the loss of People's Party and the split in the ring wing helped the Socialists gain the victory in the general election.

The open-ended nature of this election - with surveys indicating record levels of voters undecided before the ballot - reflects in some ways the wild swings in the country's national polls over the course of the past five years.

Pedro Sanchez's party won the election with 29% of the vote.

A message that fell flat as Spaniards flocked to vote, with turnout close to 76 percent, around 10 percentage points higher than in 2016.

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And while Sanchez has worked with separatist parties, he has categorically ruled out an independence referendum.

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