No clear winner in Spanish polls amid far-right surge

Spain’s repeat election, the fourth in four years, on Sunday failed to produce a clear winner as Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s (above) Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) fell short of an absolute majority again while the far-right Vox (Voice) jumped to third position in an even more divided Parliament.

PSOE got 120 seats in the 350-member assembly, three seats down from its tally in the April election.

The main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) emerged second with 88 seats, 22 seats more than in the previous election.

Vox, which vehemently opposes Catalan separatism, won 52 seats against 24 it secured in the April polls.

Far-left Podemos party’s seats fell to 35 from 42.

Ciudadanos (Citizens) party, which the Socialists were considering as a potential coalition partner, won just 10 seats against 57 it secured in April poll.

Since the left and right blocs are nowhere near the magic figure of 176 for a working majority in parliament, Spain’s political impasse is likely to continue.

To break that impasse, the Socialists are planning to form a minority government. Ahead of a trust vote in Parliament, they are making efforts to persuade PP to abstain from voting.

Sánchez’s deputy, Carmen Calvo, has appealed to all like-minded parties to stop the rise of Vox.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias is willing to discuss government formation with Sanchez but their parties need the backing of smaller parties for a working majority.

Commenting on the election, Italian newspaper El Pais wrote that instead of solving the difficulties in achieving a governing majority, it worsened them.