By Oliver McIntyre
MARIANO Rajoy’s Partido Popular (PP) won Sunday’s general election, but fell hugely short of an overall majority in a vote that dealt a major blow to Spain’s long-standing two-party system and a strong surge for two national newcomer parties.
The result has left a complicated panorama in which neither of the two main parties – the PP or the socialist PSOE – can achieve an overall majority even in coalition with their most likely partner among the two emerging parties.
The PP, with 123 seats in Congress (compared to 186 in 2011), is 53 seats short of the 176 required for an overall majority in the 350-seat Congress. Its only likely partner or supporter, the new centrist Ciudadanos party under Albert Rivera, came in fourth place with 40 seats, meaning together the two parties would have only 163 seats.
Meanwhile, second-place PSOE, led by Pedro Sánchez, won just 90 seats (down from 110 in 2011) , while its potential partner Podemos, the newcomer anti-austerity party led by Pablo Iglesias, came in third place with 69 seats, putting the two at a combined 159.