At 21 on Sunday in Spain the polls for the political elections began. 97 percent of the votes were counted and the Popular Party (PP), the historic Spanish centre-right party, led by Alberto Nuñez Feijóo, is the one with the most seats in Congress (136). Vox, the far-right party nostalgic for Franco’s dictatorship that could ally itself with the PP is the third most voted party (33 seats in Congress). However, the sum of the seats of PP and Vox is 169, therefore less than the absolute majority (176) that Congress would need to govern.
🇪🇸 Elections in #Spain – data from the Ministry of the Interior (97% scrutinized)
PP 136 seatsPSOE 122Vox 33Sumar 3128 more
PP+Vox 169PSOE+Sumar 153
Absolute majority: 176 out of 350 pic.twitter.com/Cb5oY8dGWj
— YouTrend (@you_trend) July 23, 2023
On Sunday in Spain there was a vote to renew the two chambers of parliament: the Congress of Deputies, i.e. the lower house, and the Senate, the upper house. Congress in turn will then appoint a new government. The results to keep an eye on are those of the Congress of Deputies, ie the lower house, which is elected with an almost perfectly proportional system. The Senate, on the other hand, is elected with a majority system on a regional basis, and above all it does not vote confidence in the head of government. Congress has 350 seats, and this means that 176 are needed to obtain an absolute majority.
There are two main deployments. In the centre-left, the first party is Sánchez’s PSOE, the historic political force of the Spanish left, which was the second party with the most votes and obtained 122 seats, more than expected in the polls. The other left-wing force is Sumar, a new, more radical coalition created a few months ago by Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz, which brings together all the forces to the left of the PSOE (Podemos, Más País, En Comú Podem and Compromís, and others). Sumar was the fourth most voted party, with 31 seats in Congress. The PSOE and Sumar are not in a coalition and ran for election as two separate parties, but they have obvious ties.
The right-wing line-up is made up of the PP, a historic force of the Spanish centre-right, and Vox, a very radical far-right party. The PP and Vox also run for election as two distinct parties, but unlike what happens on the left, the links between the two formations are by no means obvious. Much of the PP leadership and electorate view Vox with some unease, and see the probable need to ally with the far right to form a government as a lesser evil and a painful compromise to take to disempower the left.
With the distribution of seats resulting from the last ballot, it is clear that there is no majority in Congress that allows the center-right to govern. In an attempt to form a larger majority, he could start negotiations with the so-called regional parties, i.e. the smallest parties present in the Spanish parliament which usually represent local bodies. The most important are the two Catalan independence parties ERC (left, with 13 deputies in the current Congress) and PDeCAT (right, 4 deputies) together with the two Basque nationalist parties Bildu (left, 5 deputies) and PNV (right, 6 deputies). In the legislature that is ending, most of these parties have given their external support to Sánchez and his center-left government and have been fundamental to the legislature.
The elections in Spain were called by Sánchez a few months before the end of the legislature (which should have ended at the end of the year), after a serious defeat suffered by his government in local elections in May. According to Interior Ministry data, 24 million Spaniards voted in Sunday’s elections, with a turnout of 70 percent.