Spanish election: Socialists set to remain largest party

Partial results suggest prime minister likely to say with far-right Vox polling below expectations

The leader of Spain's far-right Vox party, Santiago Abascal, has said that he expected an historic election result, as he voted in a pivotal poll for the country. Video: Reuters

 

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists remain the largest party but fell short of a majority in elections held on Sunday night.

Neither the rightist or the leftist political bloc in Spain held a clear majority, according to a tally of results from the interior ministry with 80 per cent of votes counted.

By party, the Socialists led with 123 seats in the 350-seat parliament while centre-right Ciudadanos would have 57 seats.

There was speculation before the election about a possible coalition between them though both parties’ leaders have ruled it out. The preliminary data would give them a potential parliamentary majority.

The mainstream conservative Popular Party took a severe hit with its share down to 65 seats, far-left Unidas Podemos at 42 and far-right Vox at 24.

Spaniards cast their votes in numbers close to record highs in the country’s most highly-contested election for decades, and one likely to lead to months of negotiations to form a government in a bitterly divided parliament.

This is the third national election in four years, and both the first two eroded the decades-long dominance of the two biggest parties, the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party. Another repeat is a distinct possibility. – Reuters