After counting nearly 60 percent of the ballots, Pedro Sanchez's Socialist Party (PSOE), hoping to obtain a clear majority to end the political blockage that has plagued the country since 2015, now has only 120 deputies after the previous election, in April.
The extreme right, marginal since 1975
Vox, an ultra-nationalist and anti-immigration training founded five years ago, continued to rise and more than doubled its number of seats with 52 elected members. It thus becomes the third political force of a country where the extreme right was, before its irruption, marginal since the end of the dictatorship of Franco (1939-1975).
The conservatives of the Popular Party (PP, 88 seats) have raised the bar after the worst result of their history in April (66 seats) while the radical left of Podemos (35 seats) lost seven deputies and the liberals of Ciudadanos slapped (10 MPs vs. 57 in April).
The Catalan crisis at the heart of the concerns
Vox benefited from the turmoil sparked by the crisis in Catalonia that dominated the campaign after the nights of violence that followed the condemnation in mid-October of nine pro-independence leaders to long prison terms for the 2017 secession attempt.
Former member of the Popular Party (PP, conservative), his leader Santiago Abascal hammered his virulent speech on Catalonia advocating the prohibition of separatist parties, the suspension of the autonomy of the region and the arrest of its independence president Quim Torra . He has also attacked the illegal immigrants he accuses of an alleged rise in delinquency.
Opposite, Catalan independence parties have consolidated their representation: to three, they total 23 seats (against 22 in April) of the 42 that were at stake in Catalonia.
During the campaign, Pedro Sanchez tried to mobilize his electorate against the rise of Vox, which he presented as a return of the Francoism, denouncing the right who did not hesitate to ally with this party to take control of Andalusia, the most populous region of Spain, the region of Madrid, the richest, and the town hall of the capital.
"Spain needs a progressive government to stand up against Francoism, extremists and radicals," he repeated relentlessly. The result of these elections augurs a continuation of political instability.