Spain’s Socialists set to win election but without a governing majority

Spain election
Spain’s Socialists set to win election

Spain election: Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists top poll but miss majority

In a vote that saw one of the highest turnout levels in recent years, Spain’s ruling Socialists held a clear lead but fell well short of a majority. The nationalist, anti-migrant Vox party looks set to enter parliament.

MADRID — Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was on track to win Sunday’s election, according to a poll, but his Socialists may need external support to remain in power.

A poll by GAD3 for national broadcaster RTVE gave the Socialists between 116 and 121 of the 350 seats in parliament, ahead of the second-placed conservative Popular Party on 69-73 seats. The liberal Ciudadanos were predicted to win 48-49 seats, the far-left Podemos and its allies 42-45 seats, and the far-right Vox 36-38 seats.

With the majority of the votes counted on Sunday evening Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was on course to win Spain’s snap general election. His Socialist party, however, has fallen well short of a majority.

With two-thirds of the ballots counted, the Socialists had won nearly 30% of the vote. The far-right nationalist Vox party was poised to enter the lower house of Parliament for the first time with about 10% of the vote.

High turnout

Despite it being the third election in four years turnout in Sunday’s vote was at around 75%, up more than 8 points since the previous election in 2016, according to the Interior Ministry.

Turnout was especially high in the Catalonia region, the scene of a secession attempt in 2017, rising nearly 18 percentage points to over 64%. Overall it was the highest electoral turnout in Spain since 2008.

All 350 seats of the Congress of Deputies, which appoints a government, and 208 seats in the upper house Senate were up for election by the 36.8 million voters.

Should the results be confirmed Sanchez will need the support from smaller parties, including the Basque and Catalan nationalists, to stay in power and achieve the 176-seat majority needed to govern.

Among the conservatives, the People’s Party appears to have come in second but well behind the Socialists. The center-right Ciudadanos and the new Vox party could be possible coalition partners. Should Vox gain its seats, it would be the first time since the 1980s for a far-right party to be represented in Congress.

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