After eleven hours of voting, polling stations closed around Spain at 8pm on Sunday evening. When almost all the votes were counted, it was clear that the left and right blocs would be even and that the stalemate in Spanish politics will continue.
The Socialist Party PSOE with Pedro Sánchez in the lead became as predicted the largest party. The PSOE received about 28 percent of the vote and thus 120 seats out of the 350 seats in the Congress (Parliament's House of Commons) – 3 seats less than in the April 28 election.
The Left Alliance Unidas Podemos went even further backward.
More positive was for the right where Conservative Partido Popular (PP) has risen after the April election election and has increased from 66 to 88 seats.
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And for the ultranationalist Vox, the first extreme right-wing party on Spain's political map since dictator Francos death in 1
The conflict of independence with Catalonia is seen as a reason why the party has gained its popularity. The conflict has once again flared up after the Spanish Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan politicians and separatist leaders to a long-term prison sentence in mid-October. Since then, daily events in Barcelona have been held against the prison judges and the issue has overshadowed the election campaign.
For Vox party leader Santiago Abascal, it has been a grateful topic. The party is pushing a hard line against the independence movement and it seems to have gone home among the 37 million voting Spaniards. According to Abascal, Spain's unit is under threat and the Catalans must be deprived of their autonomy.
The Vox leader celebrated the result late on Sunday and met his constituents. Abascal recalled that only eleven months ago the party had no seats in regional, European or national parliaments, but is today the country's third largest party. The audience cheered and waved the Spanish flag.
In addition to its hard line in the Catalonia issue, the party wants to "recapture Spain" from an imaginary Islamic invasion and exclude abortion support from Spanish health insurance. They have also criticized the Spanish government's decision to excavate and relocate Franco's remains from the Valle de los Caídos monument in the mountains above Madrid.
The exception on the right is the right-wing liberal Ciudadanos, who became the largest individual loser in the election. The party has collapsed from 57 seats to ten seats. Party leader Albert Rivera is now expected to make his post available. Many voters have abandoned the right-wing Liberal Party for Vox, which is pushing an even tougher line against the Catalan independence movement.
"It's a bad result altogether, there are no excuses," Albert Rivera said after the result was presented.
When all the votes were counted, it was clear that neither the right nor the left bloc reaches up to 176 seats in the Congress required to get their own majority, according to the distribution of seats, the left parties, PSOE, Podemos and the new Más País – a breakaway flank from Podemos – together 158 The right-wing parties, Partido Popular, Vox and Ciudadanos together receive 150 seats.
Spain can therefore expect tough and difficult government negotiations in the future.
Pedro Sánchez, who has led a temporary government since the failed government negotiations after the spring election, had hoped that the election would give him enough votes for to break the deadlock in Spanish politics, but instead it led to the strengthening of the right, not least the extreme right. The country can expect tough and difficult government negotiations to come. Possible coalition partners could be the Left Alliance Unidas Podemos, Más País and one or a few Basque and Catalan nationalist parties.
If Sánchez fails to form a government, it can once again be elected in an already red-hot country where four parliamentary elections have been held since December 2015. .