The current Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his Spanish Workers' Socialist Party (PSOE) have won the most seats in the parliamentary elections in Spain – but their victory is not enough to gain absolute control over the government.
Sánchez and his center-left PSOE are on their way to reaching 122 seats, with more than 90 percent of the vote counted. It is a gain from the 84 seats the party currently holds, but not close to the 176 seats required for a majority. Now, Sánchez and his party must try to form a government with the support of other parties.
PSOE is likely to form an alliance with the left-wing Unidas Podemos securing 42 seats. This leaves PSOE and Unidas-Podemos with a majority, which means they may have to rely on smaller regional parties to form a government . In the fragmented political landscape of Spain, this may be an extremely difficult task.
The victory of PSOE is somewhat mitigated by the success of Vox, an up-and-coming right-wing immigrant political party that is expected to occupy 24 seats in the Spanish Congress. Vox's performance lagged behind some early predictions, but this breakthrough is still Vox's less than three years ago a political review . Now, for the first time since the country's democratization 40 years ago, a far-right party has won points in the Spanish legislature.
In these 40 years, two political parties dominated Spanish politics: the conservative Partido Popular (PP) and the left-center PSOE. However, in recent elections, smaller parties have cut off their influence. This trend continued in 2019.
The mixed success of the PSOE on Sunday is a symptom of the political polarization of Spain
. The election result of Spain will do little to solve the political problems faced by the country, including the still crippling Catalan issue more than a year after the illegal referendum on Catalan independence.
And now Sánchez and the PSOE have to rely on Unidas-Podemos and smaller regional parties to the government.
This is a potentially volatile arrangement. The parties in Catalonia and the Basque country supported the PSOE in June 2018, successfully ousting former PM and then PP leader Mariano Rajoy, which saw Sánchez become prime minister.
But in February, the Catalan nationalists were doomed to failure when Sánchez took the lead when they joined the opposition to defeat Sánchez's budget in Congress, forcing him to call these snap elections in April.
The PSOE could rule without the support of Catalan nationalists, as there are some combinations that make up a 176 majority. However, it is not clear until all votes are counted and Sánchez begins to build his coalition.
Spanish politics are as unstable as ever after this election. Smaller parties continue to undermine the traditional dominance of PSOE and PP. Although Vox's national successes show that the far-right movement has officially arrived in Spain, it has fallen short of expectations.
The PSOE was successful in polling on Sunday. But now comes the extremely difficult task of forming a government – and the political divisions of Spain could also prevent it.