Spain’s repeat election Sunday failed to clarify the political future of the European Union’s fifth-largest economy, as another inconclusive ballot compelled political leaders to resume six months of negotiations on who should form a government. The conservative Popular Party, which has ruled for the past four years, again collected the most votes in the election but still fell shy of the majority of 176 seats it needs in the 350-seat Parliament to form a government on its own. With 99.9 percent of the votes counted late Sunday, incumbent prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s party had picked up 137 seats in Parliament. That is better than the 123 it won in December but still means it will need allies if it wants to govern. Its earlier efforts to find support from rival parties after December proved fruitless. Even so, Rajoy declared he would make a push for power, telling a victory rally in Madrid, “We won the election, we demand the right to govern.”
It is unlikely to be as simple as that, however. For the past six months, the main parties have quarreled endlessly over who should assume power. In the end, King Felipe VI had to call another election. A third one, in six months’ time, is still a possibility.
Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst with the Teneo Intelligence political risk consulting group, said he expected tough negotiations between the parties in coming weeks. “It was hoped that these elections would bring clarity and that a government would be formed quickly, but I don’t think that’s how it’s going to be,” Barroso said.
Spain has never had a coalition government. The center-left Socialist Party placed second, collecting 85 seats, according to the count by the country’s Interior Ministry. That was five fewer seats than six months ago but the Socialists kept their influence by fending off a challenge from a radical leftist alliance.
Full Article: New election fails to clarify Spain’s political future – The Washington Post.