Conservatives plan to win Spanish elections, but parliament hangs on the loom | News

Adeyemi Adeyemi
Adeyemi Adeyemi

Global Courant

No party or bloc is on course to win an outright majority in Spain’s snap general election, according to a tally with about 99 percent of votes counted.

The conservative People’s Party (PP) narrowly won elections on Sunday, but without the majority required to overthrow the coalition government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The PP was on track to secure 136 of the 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of Spain’s parliament.

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Sanchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party was poised to take 122 seats, two more than in the outgoing legislature.

While the Socialists can probably call on the predicted 31 seats of the left-wing Sumar Alliance (Joining Forces) and several smaller parties to assemble more than the sum of Spain’s right-wing parties, there is a real possibility that neither party will be able to secure a majority.

The far-right Vox party had 33 seats, still the third-largest force in parliament as 19 below the 2019 result, and their hypothetical affiliation with the PP fell short of an outright majority of 176 seats.

Pre-election polls had predicted a bigger victory for the PP and the ability to form a coalition with Vox.

The narrow outcome could lead to weeks of political jeering. The next prime minister would not be voted on until lawmakers are installed in the new parliament.

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‘A divided country’

Pablo Calderon Martinez, a professor at Northeastern University, told Al Jazeera that the preliminary election results revealed a “divided country” as both blocs lacked majorities.

“It will be interesting to see how they negotiate the next government,” said Calderon Martinez.

He said the left bloc had outperformed most polls.

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“The socialist camp will be the luckier of the two,” he said, adding that it was “a foregone conclusion” that the PP would emerge as the largest party in Congress.

Sanchez greets supporters outside the party’s headquarters in Madrid (Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo)

Snap votes

The Socialists and junior member of the coalition government took a beating from the Conservative Party and the far-right Vox Party in regional and local elections in May, prompting Sanchez to call early elections on Sunday.

Most polls during the campaign predicted that the national vote would go the same way, but that the PP would depend on Vox’s support to form a government, with PP candidate Alberto Nunez Feijoo at the helm.

A PP-Vox government would have meant another member of the European Union has moved firmly to the right, a trend seen recently in Sweden, Finland and Italy.

Countries such as Germany and France are concerned about what such a shift would mean for EU immigration and climate policies.

The two main left-wing parties in Spain are pro-EU participation. On the right, the PP is also in favor of the EU. Vox, led by Santiago Abascal, opposes EU interference in Spanish affairs.

The elections come as Spain holds the rotating presidency of the EU. Sanchez had hoped to use the six-month deadline to show the progress his administration had made. An election defeat for Sanchez could lead to the PP taking over the reins of the EU presidency.

Voters braved rising summer temperatures to cast their votes on Sunday. At the end of a month of heat waves, temperatures in many parts of the country were expected to average above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), or 5C to 10C (41F to 50F), above normal. Authorities have handed out fans to many of the stations.

“We have the heat, but the right to exercise our voice freely is stronger than the heat,” said Rosa Maria Valladolid-Prieto, 79, in Barcelona.

Sánchez was one of the first to vote and cast his ballot at a polling station in Madrid. He later said of the large number of foreign media reporting on the election: “This means that what happens today will be very important, not only for us but also for Europe, and I think that should also make us think.”

Sumar, which brings together 15 small left-wing parties, is led by Second Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz, the only woman among the top four candidates.

Díaz called on everyone to vote, recalling that the freedom to vote did not always exist in Spain.

“There’s a lot at stake,” Diáz said after casting her vote. “It’s the most important election for people of my generation.”

PP leader Feijoo said it was “clear that there are many things at play, which country model we want, to have a solid and strong government”.

Vox’s Abascal said he hoped for “a mass mobilization (of voters) that will enable Spain to change direction”.

A person casts his vote in an early general election at a polling station in Barcelona, ​​Spain (Albert Gea/Reuters)

Sanchez’s government has guided Spain through the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling an inflation-driven economic downturn exacerbated by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

But his reliance on fringe parties to prop up his minority coalition, including separatist forces from Catalonia and the Basque Country, and his passing of a slew of liberal-minded laws could cost him his job.

The right-wing parties promised to reverse dozens of Sanchez’s laws, many of which have benefited millions of citizens and thousands of businesses.

Conservatives plan to win Spanish elections, but parliament hangs on the loom | News

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