No Clear Winner Emerges in Spain’s Election, Raising Possibility of Hung Parliament

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Spain's Socialist leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, accompanied by his wife Begona Gomez, applauds as he addresses supporters during the general election, in Madrid, Spain, July 23, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

No Clear Winner Emerges as Spain’s Right Falls Short of Predicted Victory

MADRID – In a nail-biting finish to Spain’s election on Sunday, no clear winner emerged as the right-wing parties fell short of predictions for a resounding victory. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s ruling Socialists (PSOE) performed better than forecast, while the opposition center-right People’s Party (PP) failed to clinch the predicted clear majority, leading to an unexpected twist in the vote counting.

The current situation has raised the possibility of a hung parliament, prompting the two leading parties to seek coalition deals to form a governing majority. However, with both the PSOE and PP falling short of the 176 seats needed for a majority, the parties with the greatest potential to be kingmakers are the far-right Vox and the far-left Sumar.

Despite not securing an outright victory, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s odds of forming a coalition are deemed higher than those of PP leader Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, with a 45% probability of successfully negotiating a deal with far-left Sumar and smaller parties, according to the Teneo advisory firm. Nonetheless, there remains a 45% probability of new elections being required, further adding to the uncertainty.

The lack of a clear result casts a shadow on Spain’s current presidency of the European Union council and risks unsettling markets. However, for supporters of a pro-socialist agenda, there is newfound hope as Sanchez’s potential to form another government emerges.

Spain's opposition People's Party leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo applauds during the general election, in Madrid, Spain, July 24, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Spain’s opposition People’s Party leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo applauds during the general election, in Madrid, Spain, July 24, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Medina

The prospect of a pro-socialist coalition gains momentum as Spain faces a hung parliament and uncertain governing future.

Speaking to jubilant supporters outside the PSOE’s central Madrid headquarters, Sanchez highlighted the rejection of a “backward-looking bloc, which proposed a total repeal of all the progress we have made over the last four years.” In contrast, the PP leader Feijoo insisted that his party had won the election and expressed his willingness to avoid uncertainty by speaking to all willing parties to form a government.

As the parties engage in coalition negotiations, King Felipe VI will invite the top vote winner, Feijoo, to attempt to secure the prime ministership. However, if Feijoo declines or fails to gain the necessary support, the king may turn to Sanchez with the same request. If no candidate secures a majority within two months of the first vote on the prime minister, new elections will be held.

Spain's Socialist leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez applauds during the general election, in Madrid, Spain, July 23, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Spain’s Socialist leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez applauds during the general election, in Madrid, Spain, July 23, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Despite the uncertainty, there is growing optimism among pro-socialist supporters. The possibility of a pro-socialist coalition government, with potential support from smaller parties, is becoming more likely. Sanchez’s PSOE could rely heavily on Catalan separatist parties Junts and ERC or Basque separatists EH Bildu, both of which have shown interest in seeking concessions in return for their support.

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In conclusion, the Spanish election results have set the stage for intense coalition negotiations, injecting drama and uncertainty into the country’s political landscape. While the right-wing parties failed to achieve a clear majority, the prospect of a pro-socialist coalition gaining power offers hope to those who advocate for progressive policies. As Spain navigates these uncharted waters, the world watches closely, recognizing the potential implications for the European Union and beyond.