Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) won the most seats in Sunday’s national election and must now assemble a governing coalition.
This week’s results were a first test for Sanchez who assumed leadership during a coalition restructuring last year. He now expects his increased legitimacy to help him pass social and political reforms.
Most of the issues around forming a governing coalition in Spain have their origins in Catalonia’s failed secession bid of 2017. A slight majority of voters in the northeast region, that includes Barcelona, support independence. That majority further splits into a hard-line group that truly wants separation from Madrid and those who support the movement as a means to increased autonomy where the region gains more control of the tax revenue they produce. For a few brief seconds in 2017, Catalonia declared itself independent. Today that leadership is in jail and being tried in Madrid.
While the Socialists have been willing to form coalitions with the pro-Catalan parties, The Vox party formed in direct opposition to independence and illegal immigration.
This was Spain’s third parliamentary election in less than four years but they saw record high turnout of 75.8%. There are 350 seats in the Spanish Parliament, so it takes 176 seats to form a ruling majority. Sanchez may end up with a coalition consisting of left-wing parties, the small Basque Nationalist Party and the more moderate Catalonia separatist party.
Catalan separatist parties won 22 seats (up from 17). Here’s a Breakdown of the other major party results from Left to Right:
- Pablo Iglesias’ Podemos party: 42
- PSOE: 123
- Conservative People’s Party (PP): 66 seats (down from 137)
- Centre-right Ciudadanos: 57 seats
- The strongly nationalist Vox Party: 24
Spain contains one of Europe’s better economies right now, expected to expand by 2.2 percent this year, nearly double the euro zone. Unemployment is falling and currently sits at 14.7%.