Newspaper article International New York Times

Vote in Spain Keeps Status Quo, Yielding No Majority ; Conservatives Gain Seats, Socialists Stay at No.2 and Far-Left Bloc Is Stalled

Newspaper article International New York Times

Vote in Spain Keeps Status Quo, Yielding No Majority ; Conservatives Gain Seats, Socialists Stay at No.2 and Far-Left Bloc Is Stalled

Article excerpt

The conservative Popular Party won 137 of 350 seats in Parliament, up from 123 in the December elections but not enough to settle who will form the next government.

The conservative Popular Party of Mariano Rajoy, Spain's caretaker prime minister, has won the most votes in Spain's repeat national elections as the Socialists held off a challenge from the Podemos party to remain the largest left-wing formation.

The fragmented result from Sunday's elections, however, did not settle who will form the country's next government. Instead, Mr. Rajoy and the leaders of Spain's other parties face another tricky round of coalition negotiations. National elections in December were also inconclusive.

The Popular Party's advance appeared to show that conservative voters responded to Mr. Rajoy's last-ditch warning against the kind of radical overhaul demanded by Podemos at a time of political crisis in the European Union. The Spanish elections took place three days after the British voted to leave the European Union, in a referendum that sent financial markets in Spain and throughout the world tumbling on Friday.

Mr. Rajoy's Popular Party won 137 of 350 parliamentary seats, up from 123 in the December elections. The Socialists captured 85 seats, five fewer than in December. Podemos won 71 seats, effectively unchanged from December, after forming an election alliance with United Left, another radical party, which won two seats six months ago. Another emerging party, Ciudadanos, got 32 seats, down from 40 seats, according to the preliminary results.

No party came close to winning a parliamentary majority on Sunday. Still, the results put Mr. Rajoy back in the driver's seat, either to try to form a right-wing coalition or to pressure the Socialists into a broader coalition that could help preserve the dominance of Spain's establishment parties, which Podemos would like to uproot.

Addressing flag-waving supporters outside his party's headquarters just after midnight, Mr. Rajoy celebrated his victory but did not shed light on how it might allow him to form a new government. "From tomorrow, we will have to talk with everybody, and we will do it," he said, adding that Spain was "walking in the right direction. …

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