Spain is set for a period of difficult coalition-building after Sunday’s elections in which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy‘s conservatives came first, but were far short of a majority and with no obvious coalition partner after the centrist Ciudadanos (Citizens) did worse than expected, finishing fourth. With 99.6 percent of votes counted, Rajoy’s Popular Party had 123 seats in the 350-seat national parliament, way beneath the 186-seat majority they secured in 2011. The Socialists (PSOE), who have alternated in power with the PP for nearly four decades, were second with 90 seats, while far-left Podemos (We Can) had 69 seats — including the regional coalitions they have forged in Catalonia, Galicia and Valencia — and the centrist Ciudadanos came fourth with 40. “We are about to begin a period that won’t be easy,” said 60-year-old Rajoy, who was first elected in 2011 and has earned the approval of the euro zone’s most powerful country, Germany, for tightening the reins on Spain’s spendthrift economy..
However, his PP did not win enough votes to form a center-right majority with Albert Rivera’s Ciudadanos — whose rapid growth, especially in a regional election in their Catalan homeland in September, had promised a better result than fourth place — while a leftist coalition between the PSOE and Podemos would also fall short of a majority.
“I am going to try to form a government and I think Spain needs a stable government,” the conservative prime minister told cheering PP followers in Madrid, adding: “Spain needs stability, safety, certainty and confidence.”
Spain’s parliament now appears fairly evenly divided between the center right, represented by the PP and Ciudadanos with a combined 163 seats, and the center left represented by the PSOE, Podemos and another leftist party, Izquierda Unida, with 161. The remainder of the seats are held by regional parties, who will be crucial to the process of building a coalition government.
Full Article: Spain heads for coalition impasse – POLITICO.