Spain election: political stalemate?

In Spain, the conservative People's Party has emerged as the strongest party in the snap general election. With almost all the votes counted it secured 136 (89 seats four years ago) out of a total of 350 parliamentary seats. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialists have 122 seats, the right-wing populist Vox won 33 and the left-wing alliance Sumar has 31. With these results neither the left nor the right has a real chance of achieving an absolute majority, which leaves commentators wondering what will happen now.

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El Periódico de España (ES) /

The main parties must sit down to talk

El Periódico de España is delighted that Vox has dropped from 52 to 33 seats in parliament:

“As long as the Popular Party and Socialists refuse to sit down to negotiate Spain will be condemned to instability, which could lead to a repeat election or a weak, short-lived majority. Spaniards reject the kind of grand coalition that Germany and other countries have. But between this scenario - which could lead to the dissolution of one of the two parties - and the absence of even a minimum of political relations, there should be plenty of room for manoeuvre. One of the best pieces of news, about which Europe is also relieved, is that the results have plunged Vox into irrelevance. Its presence in parliament has only caused tensions and its propositions have led to there being no alternative centre-right majority.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Forming a government will be difficult

El Mundo sees hard times ahead:

“The elections have produced one of the worst possible scenarios. The country is at the mercy of instability and uncertainty. ... The citizens have given the PP a victory, but not a sufficient majority to govern. ... President Pedro Sánchez has held out and could relaunch his coalition with Sumar, ERC [from Catalonia] and Bildu [from the Basque Country]. But the situation is worse, because he will also need the immoral support of Junts per Catalunya, the party of fugitive president Carles Puigdemont. ... Things will not be easy for him with a Senate where the PP has an absolute majority and many of the communities also governed by the PP.”

Público (PT) /

Stalemate provides fertile ground for Vox

Público fears that Vox could become the beneficiary of the impending political stalemate in Spain:

“The right-wing radicals wanted to secure enough votes to make the formation of a coalition government with the PP inevitable. If this did not succeed, [Vox leader] Santiago Abascal would secretly favour an electoral victory for Sánchez in alliance with the pro-independence regional parties - the best scenario for strengthening his party. The far right feeds on the crises and impasses of the system. The kind of stalemate situation we are likely to experience now provides a fertile breeding ground for populist demagogy.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Conservatives helping incendiary forces in Europe

De Morgen criticises the European People's Party (EPP) for not opposing the conservatives' cooperation with the far right:

“It remains quiet as a mouse, and that is worrying. ... In Austria, the Austrian People's Party is now allowed to form regional coalitions with the Freedom Party of Austria without interference. ... In Italy, EPP member Forza Italia is now a partner of far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. ... Despite protests from his own ranks, [EPP leader Manfred] Weber let this pass. The great risk is that with this kind of alliance the centre-right will hand the far right the matches to set fire to our European democracy. Therefore, the EPP, if only out of self-interest, should advise the PP not to enter into a coalition with Vox.”