PP gains support in Spanish election, but falls short of majority
Support for Spain's conservative Partido Popular (PP) surged in Sunday's general election, as voters opted for the status quo just days after Britain's shock decision to leave the European Union.
The jump in support for the party of caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reversed a trend to back start-up parties that have channelled resentment towards the establishment after an economic crisis and a series of corruption scandals.
Support stagnated or fell for the two newcomers, anti-austerity Podemos and liberal Ciudadanos, which have lifted their share of the vote in recent years to challenge the two-party system that has dominated politics for four decades.
With 97% of the votes counted, the ?PP was poised to obtain 137 seats in the Spanish parliament, up from 123 in a previous election in December.
If confirmed, it represented a significant increase in support for the PP, though not enough to allow it to form government.
The PSOE, which polls had shown slipping into the third place after anti-austerity Podemos, was set to hold 85 seats, down five from last December.
Unidos-Podemos, a coalition of several leftist parties led by Podemos was set to win 71 seats, the same as last December despite predictions that it would surge ahead.
Ciudadanos, the upstart centre right party, obtained 32 seats, down from 40 it obtained in December.
The results represent a significant boost in support for the PP, but not enough to break the stalemate that has plagued Spanish politics since December.
The PSOE meanwhile maintained support despite predictions that Unidos-Podemos would knock it into third place. But the votes nevertheless represented the worst election result in the Socialists’ history.
With no party able to govern outright, Spain is faced with another period of uncertainty and negotiations to try and reach a pact to govern and avoid a third general election.
In La Linea with 97% of votes counted, PSOE was the most voted party with 33% of the vote, followed by the PP with 32% and Unidos-Podemos with 18%. Both PP and PSOE were down about 4% from December.
In Los Barrios with 97% of votes counted as this edition went to press, the PSOE had 32% of the vote (up from 31% in December), while the PP had 30% (up from 25% at the last election).
Podemos had 19% of the vote.
In Algeciras, the PP increased its support from 31% to 36%, while PSOE also edged up 1% from December to reach 27% of the vote.