Spain at Risk of Political Gridlock

Parties on both sides have no clear path toward a new government
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 24, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Spain at Risk of Political Gridlock
Young men raise their right arm making the the fascist salute outside the headquarters of far-right Vox party in Madrid, while supporters wait for the results of Spain's general election, Sunday, July 23, 2023.   (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)

Spain appears headed for political gridlock after Sunday's inconclusive national elections left parties on both the right and left without a clear path toward forging a new government, the AP reports. The conservative Popular Party won the elections, but it fell short of its hopes of scoring a much bigger victory and forcing the removal of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Instead, the party led by candidate Alberto Núñez Feijóo performed below the expectations of most campaign polls. Even though Sánchez's Socialists finished second, they and their allied parties celebrated the outcome as a victory since their combined forces gained slightly more seats than the PP and the far-right. The bloc that could likely support Sánchez totaled 172 seats; the right bloc behind Feijóo, 170.

"It was a Pyrrhic victory for the Popular Party, which is unable to form a government," said political analyst Verónica Fumanal, adding the conservatives will now have to reach out to the far-right, and even then it won't be enough. "I see a deadlock scenario in the Parliament." The closer-than-expected outcome was likely to produce weeks of political jockeying and uncertainty over the country's future leadership. The next prime minister only would be voted on once lawmakers are installed in the new Congress of Deputies. But the chances of Sánchez picking up the support of 176 lawmakers—the absolute majority in the Madrid-based Lower House of Parliament—needed to form a government are not great either. (More on the elections and what these results could mean here.)

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