(B2) The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) came out on top in the general elections held on Sunday (April 28), well ahead of its main competitor the collapsing Popular Party (PP), barely one point behind the centrist party of Ciudadanos ( CS). The left of Podemos also loses feathers (passing to 4th position).
After a tense campaign, the election was marked by the participation rate: 75,78%. That is nine points more than in 2016 and five more than in 2015, according to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. Sign of the political tension and the concern of the Spaniards.
A PSOE without an absolute majority, and Podemos in the open country
The Socialist Party (PSOE) won 29% of the vote and 123 of the 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies, significantly more than in the 2016 legislative elections, but far from the absolute majority of 176 out of 350 in the chamber. A victory that came at the expense of Podemos, which convinced only 14% of the Spaniards and lost 29 seats.
Separatists and regionalists making kings?
The other lucky ones are the separatists (Basques and Catalans), who obtain 26 seats including 15 for the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), considered the most moderate independence party. This party could become a kingmaker. Among the newly elected Catalans, five Catalan separatists, currently detained and tried in Madrid for their role in the attempted secession of Catalonia in 2017. To these must be added the nationalists of the Basque National Party (PNV).
The fragmented right
Very fragmented, the right-wing parties do not accumulate enough seats to claim an alliance against the left-wing bloc, making it possible to repeat the success obtained in the regional elections of Andalusia, in December 2018. And this, despite the eruption of the party far-right (Vox) with 10% of the vote. The new party did not make the predicted sensational debut, but recovered some of the disappointed right-wingers. The conservatives of the People's Party (PP) have indeed lost half of their seats, and fall to 66 deputies, against 137 in 2016. The liberals of Ciudadanos have made a great breakthrough, going from 32 to 57 deputies.
A difficult game of alliances begins
The result is a fragmented parliament and divisions exacerbated by Catalonia's attempted secession in 2017. The PSOE, which does not have an absolute majority, will have to form a coalition to govern. If the natural intuition would be to ally with the left of Podemos, the socialists could also turn to the liberals of Ciudadanos. The association with the ECR is difficult, since they are the ones who brought down the current government, refusing to support it to pass the 2019 budget. The need for a coalition is now imposed on all parties. No head of the list closed the door to alliances with other parties (with the exception of the extreme right), knowing that this type of attitude had led to a deadlock in 2015, and to the organization new elections in 2016.
(NGV & LH)