Spain’s repeat election on Sunday failed to clarify the political future of the European Union’s fifth-largest economy, with the main parties placing roughly the same as in December’s ballot, which brought six months of stalemate. The conservative Popular Party, which has ruled for the past four years, again collected the most votes in the election but fell short of the majority of 176 seats it needed in the 350-seat parliament to form a government on its own. With 97 percent of the votes counted late Sunday, incumbent Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s party earned 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.
The center-left Socialist Party placed second, collecting 22.75 percent of the vote and 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.
Unidos Podemos (United We Can) — which brings together Podemos, a 2-year-old party that grew out of a grassroots protest movement, the communists and the Greens — was third with 71 seats.
The alliance, headed by ponytailed political science professor Pablo Iglesias, had hoped to overtake the Socialists and break the country’s traditional two-party system. The Popular Party and the Socialists have alternated in power for decades. The business-friendly Ciudadanos party came in fourth with 32 seats. Other, smaller parties won the rest of the vote by Spain’s roughly 36.5 million voters.
Full Article: Spanish election renews political uncertainty.