Spain elections: Socialists lead, while far-right Vox surges

Cheryl Sanders
November 11, 2019

The poll was based on the voting intentions of around 14,000 people collated in the days leading up to the election - Spain's second national ballot this year and fourth in four years.

"Now they'll have to negotiate, people don't want a third election", said Isabel Romero, 65-year-old pensioner who voted for the Socialists, complaining that abstention was already high. As of 6 pm, 56.8 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots, down from 60.7 percent in the April 28 election.

With over 99% of the vote counted, acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's center-left PSOE party were on track to secure 120 seats - on par with the 123 they secured in April, but coming up far short of the 176 seats needed for a majority in the lower house of parliament.

"Sanchez has lost, now it's much more hard for him to form a government", he said.

Spain voted Sunday in its fourth general election in as many years amid heightened tensions over Catalonia's separatist push, an issue that has fuelled a surge in support for upstart far-right party Vox.

Having increased its vote share by around 50 per cent, Vox will now will leapfrog both Podemos and Ciudadanos to become the third-largest party in the Spanish parliament, after having only just entered it for the first time in April.

Sanchez has called on other political parties for cooperation, saying all parties must be tolerant and act responsibly to break Spain's political stalemate.

"Just 11 months ago, we weren't even in any regional legislature in Spain".

Vox won 24 seats in parliament in the last election in April, in the first significant showing by a far-right faction since Spain's return to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

In fact, Sanchez has actually lost some ground, and the left-wing Unidas Podemos (United We Can) party which is the Socialists' most natural ally in the Cortes Generales, as the Spanish parliament is known, has lost even more.

It got its first foothold in office last December, winning 12 parliamentary seats in a regional election in Andalusia. Pary leader Albert Rivera told supporters that there were "no excuses" for the bad result and that the party would have to decide its next steps.

He then repeated his pledge to end the Catalan crisis by suspending Catalonia's regional autonomy, banning separatist parties and arresting its regional president, Quim Torra, who has vowed to continue the secession drive. The country used to take pride in claiming that no far-right group had seats in the national Parliament, unlike the rest of Europe. Political stalemateThe last general election in April also saw the Socialists win the most votes, but fall short of a majority.

The outcome will require party leaders to be creative, negotiate seriously this time and, for some, swallow their pride, after higher abstention rates on November 11 showed that voters are exhausted of being called repeatedly to the ballot box.

Sanchez called on parties to work together to form a stable government and said he would work to form a progressive government to move the country forward from the political stalemate.

Other reports by iNewsToday