Spain: socialists and right-wing side by side in legislative elections

by Belen Carreno and Emma Pinedo

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s snap general election on Sunday could result in a hung parliament, partial results emerged after 80% of votes were counted, with the Conservatives narrowly ahead of the Socialist Party.

The latest polls ahead of the vote suggested a right-wing victory scenario, with the People’s Party (PP) able to win a majority together with the far-right Vox party – which would mark the presence of the far-right in government for the first time since the end of the Franco dictatorship in the 1970s.

According to partial results, the PP will win 132 of the 350 seats in parliament, while Vox is credited with 33 seats – insufficient to form a government coalition. The ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) is second with 125 seats.

However, changes cannot be ruled out as the counting ends in big cities.

Opinion polls conducted last week suggested a victory for the right-wing faction. A possible government coalition, which would be only the second in the country’s history, would however depend on talks between the PP and Vox, which could take several weeks.

While PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijoa has said he would prefer to govern alone, the Conservatives and Vox have already formed coalitions to govern dozens of towns and regions since last May’s local elections.

Santiago Abascal, head of the far-right party, said ahead of the election that he was keen to “build an alternative” to Pedro Sánchez’s socialist government.

A PP-led government should not make major economic or foreign policy changes, but it could limit the ecological agenda implemented by the Sanchez government – one of the biggest at the European level – to fight climate change.

Vox, which was founded in 2013 and has grown in popularity over the past five years, proposes deploying a fleet to deport illegal immigrants and block the boats from reaching Spanish shores. He wants to close mosques that advocate “radical Islam or jihad”. He said that he is in favor of selective immigration to meet labor needs.

The far-right party has also promised to repeal progressive laws for transgender rights and abortion.

Pedro Sánchez, who has been in power since 2018, called for snap elections in May following the defeat of the leftists in local elections – a gambit that appeared to backfire.

(Reporting by Horacio Garcia, Guillermo Martinez, Andrei Khalip, Belen Carreno, Jesus Aguado, Emma Pinedo and Caterina Demoni; French editing by Claude Chandjou and Jean Terzien)

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