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Spanish National Elections: Hung Parliament – but far right soars

Reach Alcance | Graphic: Chris Gomez

With polls for the elections to the Spanish Congress closed, it looks like a pyrrhic victory for the left comprising the socialist PSOE 120 down from 123 in April, the more radical Unidas Podemos 35 and other smaller national and regional parties. including the Catalan Esquerra Republicana (Republican Left) party 13.

However this is short of the overall majority of 176 seats required to form government so no gains for the left from the situation before the elections particularly because the PSOE is not likely to deal with the separatist Equerra although there is the possibility of support from the now decimated Ciudadanos party. The Partido Popular in government from 1996 to 2004 and again from 2011 to 2018 is expected to come in come second in number of seats 88 up from 66 last April but not likely to be able to head a coalition government.

Ciudadanos, a centre right partly is set to get only 10 MPs into the Cortes, a collapse from 57 and the hard right Vox party which was a splinter from the PP formed only in 2013 has seen its representation rise from 24 seats at the last elections to 52. Last week the Vox leadership in Madrid was accused by its own members in the Campo de Gibraltar of being reckless and out of touch for calling for the closure of the frontier with Gibraltar as a reprisal for the rejection by the Edinburgh Sheriff Court of a Spanish request for the extradition of a Catalan politician.

10N Spanish Elections 2019 November

The socialist PSOE which has been in government since 2018 failed to agree a coalition pact during the last legislature which led to these latest elections being called. In recent times the PSOE formed in 1879 previously governed Spain between 1982 and 1996 and 2004 to 2011.

Some political analysts say that Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez prefers to go it alone in minority than do a deal with Unidas Podemos ( a left to far left grouping headed by Pablo Iglesias). At a seminar in Galicia recently the elder statesmen of the PSOE and the PP, Felipe Gonzalez and Jose Maria Aznar had even suggested a government of national unity of the two old rivals to keep out the populists on both sides of the political spectrum. Sanchez’ gamble to try to shore up his party’s position after the April elections appears to have become unstuck by a combination of weak unemployment data suggesting a lack of economic resilience and the Catalan crisis.

Meanwhile in the socialist heartlands of Andalucia Vox has beaten the PP and internationally, the rise of the far-right in socialist territory is seen to follow the trend across Europe, notably Italy, France, Austria, Germany and Hungary. French right wing leader Marina Le Pen was among the first to congratulate Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

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