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Spain election 2023 results: rightwing bloc pulls ahead but remains short of overall majority – as it happened

This article is more than 8 months old
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in Madrid
Sun 23 Jul 2023 19.17 EDTFirst published on Sun 23 Jul 2023 12.10 EDT
A voter casts her ballot during the general election at a polling station in Valencia.
A voter casts her ballot during the general election at a polling station in Valencia. Photograph: Ana Escobar/EPA
A voter casts her ballot during the general election at a polling station in Valencia. Photograph: Ana Escobar/EPA

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Summary

  • With 100% of the votes counted, the PP has won the election with 136 seats. But the result is far from an outright majority and hints at weeks – if not months – of political gridlock and negotiations as parties try to hammer out whether Spain’s next government will tack to the right or left.

  • The Socialists did better than polls had predicted, winning 122 seats. The result is a slight gain over the 120 seats it won in the November 2019 election.

  • The new leftwing movement, Sumar, won 31 seats.

  • The far-right party Vox has taken some of the biggest losses of the night, with its seat count dropping from 52 in the country’s parliament to 33.

  • While polls had suggested that Vox’s seat count would drop, they also suggested that this drop would be compensated by the party’s role as a kingmaker following the election.

  • A PP-Vox coalition would have 169 seats – meaning it would need to secure a handful of votes from other parties to secure the 176 seats needed for a majority in the 350-seat parliament. It is a tall order, given that most regional parties have expressed hesitation over striking deals that could ease Vox’s path to power.

  • The Socialists and Sumar would have 153 seats together, meaning they could potentially try to strike deals with smaller regional parties to govern. But doing so would require fraught negotiations, meaning Spain risks heading into new elections.

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Key events

We’re wrapping up our live coverage for the night. With 100% of the vote counted, Spain’s snap election has yielded a fragmented result that will yield weeks – if not months – of dealmaking attempts.

While the PP, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, won the most seats in the election, the party’s 136 seats will not be enough to topple the Socialists’ Pedro Sánchez. Even with Vox’s 33 seats, the two parties will fall short of the 176 seats needed for a majority in Spain’s parliament. The results stand in sharp contrast to the outcome predicted by pollsters for this snap general election.

Instead this snap election saw Sánchez again prove to be one of Europe’s most resilient politicians. Between the Socialists’ 122 seats – a slight increase over the 120 seats won last election – and Sumar’s 31 seats, the left bloc could manage to cobble together enough support in the coming months to take power. If not, Spain will again have to head to the polls.

You can read our full story of tonight’s election here:

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The Associated Press has crunched the numbers, reporting that the bloc that could likely support Sánchez’s return to power in Spain totals 172 seats. In contrast, the right bloc, led by the PP, sits at 170 seats.

As I mentioned earlier, the fragmented result means that the hardline Catalan separatist party Junts per Catalunya is now in the position of kingmaker.

“We won’t make Pedro Sánchez PM in exchange for nothing,” the party’s leader, Míriam Nogueras, said earlier tonight after it became clear that her party could play a decisive role in ushering in Spain’s new government.

While the PP won the most seats in the election, political analyst Verónica Fumanal described the win as a “Pyrrhic victory” as the party will likely not be able to form government. “I see a deadlock scenario in the parliament,” she told the Associated Press.

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Some interesting analysis from one of Spain’s best-known television personalities on the left, Jordi Evolé, on Twitter.

He points out that Spain has bucked the tide sweeping most of Europe in this election:

The extreme right, which is in its best moment across much of Europe, is losing votes and seats in Spain. Almost 20 … Today, more than ever, VIVA ESPAÑA.

The far-right party Vox has taken some of the biggest losses of the night, with its seat count dropping from 52 in the country’s parliament to 33.

In another tweet, Evolé also points out that despite obtaining their worst electoral result in years, Catalan separatists now hold the key to forming Spain’s next government.

A estas alturas de la noche, lo que podemos decir es que la EXTREMA DERECHA, en su mejor momento en casi toda Europa, en España pierde votos y escaños. Casi 20.
Igual era eso la excepción ibérica.
Hoy, más que nunca, VIVA ESPAÑA.

— Jordi Évole (@jordievole) July 23, 2023

The leader of the conservative People’s party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, is addressing his supporters outside the PP headquarters in Madrid.

“Friends, we have obtained a result that just over a year and a half ago seemed impossible,” he says to loud cheers.

“As the candidate of the party that received the most votes, I believe it is my duty to lead the talks from the first minute and try to govern our country in accordance with the election results and the electoral victory”, he adds.

With 99.8% of the votes counted, the PP won tonight’s election with 136 seats. But the result is far from the outright majority needed to topple the incumbent Socialists, even with the far-right’s 33 seats.

Instead it hints at weeks – if not months – of negotiations as parties try to gather enough support to lead the country’s 350-seat parliament.

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Outside the Socialists headquarters, the mood appears to be jubilant. “There are far more of us, those who want to see Spain continue to advance,” said Pedro Sánchez to resounding cheers.

The backward-looking bloc who wanted to abolish the advances of the last four years has failed”, he added.

The Socialists did better tonight than polls had predicted, winning 122 seats. The result is a slight gain over the 120 seats it won in the November 2019 election.

🗳 #EleccionesGenerales | Suena la canción de 'Verano Azul' en la sede del PSOE en la calle Ferraz de Madridhttps://t.co/bkzdw4nEof pic.twitter.com/gwiApWCTRj

— Cadena SER (@La_SER) July 23, 2023

Spanish media are highlighting that the potential kingmaker of the election is not the far-right Vox – but rather the Catalan separatist party Junts per Catalunya.

With 99% of the votes counted, Junts has 7 seats. If the Socialists are able to strike a deal with the party, perhaps convincing them to abstain, Pedro Sánchez could potentially pave a return to power.

The negotiations, however, would likely take weeks or months. And as Juanlu Sánchez of Eldiario.es points out in this tweet, if Junts decides to vote against both the left and the right bloc, Spain will be heading towards new elections.

Si Junts se abstiene, Pedro Sánchez puede ser presidente del Gobierno.

Pero si Junts vota que no a la izquierda y luego también vota que no a la derecha, nadie tendrá más síes que noes. Y a elecciones otra vez.

— Juanlu Sánchez (@juanlusanchez) July 23, 2023
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My colleague Sam Jones has put together this look at the Socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez, and his risky gamble in calling tonight’s snap general election.

Polarisation, discord and fury have been the defining features of Spain’s volatile and rapidly changing politics over the past few years,” Sam writes.

He adds: Now that Spain has gone to the polls for the fifth time in eight years, results suggest an electorate finely divided, and Sánchez will soon learn whether his latest bet was the right one.”

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Summary

  • With 100% of the votes counted, the PP has won the election with 136 seats. But the result is far from an outright majority and hints at weeks – if not months – of political gridlock and negotiations as parties try to hammer out whether Spain’s next government will tack to the right or left.

  • The Socialists did better than polls had predicted, winning 122 seats. The result is a slight gain over the 120 seats it won in the November 2019 election.

  • The new leftwing movement, Sumar, won 31 seats.

  • The far-right party Vox has taken some of the biggest losses of the night, with its seat count dropping from 52 in the country’s parliament to 33.

  • While polls had suggested that Vox’s seat count would drop, they also suggested that this drop would be compensated by the party’s role as a kingmaker following the election.

  • A PP-Vox coalition would have 169 seats – meaning it would need to secure a handful of votes from other parties to secure the 176 seats needed for a majority in the 350-seat parliament. It is a tall order, given that most regional parties have expressed hesitation over striking deals that could ease Vox’s path to power.

  • The Socialists and Sumar would have 153 seats together, meaning they could potentially try to strike deals with smaller regional parties to govern. But doing so would require fraught negotiations, meaning Spain risks heading into new elections.

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Sam Jones, The Guardian’s Madrid correspondent, has filed his take on the election results:

The early results suggested the political hue of the next government is far from a foregone conclusion, with the left and right blocs running almost neck and neck in their race to get as close to 176 seats as possible. Weeks of negotiations and horse-trading are likely to follow Sunday’s vote.”

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People's party widens lead with 90% of votes counted

With 90% of the vote counted, the PP has now firmly pulled into the lead with 136 seats.

The Socialists have 122 seats, while the leftwing movement, Sumar, is at 31 seats.

The far-right party Vox has 33 seats.

The results so far suggest that the PP and Vox together would have 169 seats – meaning they would need to secure a handful of votes from other parties to secure a majority in the 350-seat parliament. It is a tall order, given that most regional parties have expressed hesitation over deals that would ease Vox’s path to power.

The Socialists and Sumar would have 153 seats together, meaning they could potentially try to strike deals with smaller regional parties in order to govern. But doing so would require weeks – if not months – of fraught negotiations, meaning Spain risks heading into new elections.

With 10% or so of votes left to count, the results could still see an increase or decrease by a handful of seats.

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Writer Michael Reid, author of a recently published book on Spain, points out that so far the results hint at how the country’s two traditional parties, the Socialists and the PP, are bouncing back after an era of deep fragmentation in Spanish politics:

Whoever wins the election in Spain, the resilience of the two traditional parties (PSOE and PP) is striking. Between them they will win around 64% of the vote, down from 84% in 2008 but up from just 49% in November 2019.

— Michael Reid (@michaelreid52) July 23, 2023
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People’s party pulls ahead of the Socialists with three-quarters of the vote counted

Just over 75% of the votes have been counted and live results published by the Spanish government continue to show a narrow gap between the Socialists and the PP.

The PP – which polls had suggested would win the election by a substantial margin – has 132 seats. The Socialists trail slightly behind at 126.

The far-right Vox party has 33 seats while the leftwing movement Sumar has 30.

The preliminary count suggests that PP and Vox together would have 165 seats – just shy of the 176 seats needed for a majority in the country’s 350-seat parliament.

With a quarter of the vote left to count, the results could still increase or decrease by a handful of seats.

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Spanish radio station Cadena SER has published video from the PP headquarters in Madrid.

It shows people milling outside as results roll in. After weeks of polls suggesting the PP would win the election by a significant margin, the mood of supporters appears to be more cautious than jubilant:

🗳 #EleccionesGenerales2023 | Ambiente frío dentro y fuera de la sede de Génova, pero el PP asegura que aún falta mucho escrutinio y pone énfasis en que faltan las grandes ciudades

Informa @marielarubiohttps://t.co/bkzdw4nEof pic.twitter.com/FlS7RHzhQp

— Cadena SER (@La_SER) July 23, 2023
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Narrow gap between Socialists and PP with just over half the votes counted

We now have slightly more than 55% of the votes counted and live results published by the Spanish government show a very narrow gap between the Socialists and the PP.

The PP – widely tipped to win the most seats in this snap election – have 130. The Socialists are closely behind them with 129.

The far-right Vox party has 33 seats while leftwing movement Sumar has 30.

This suggests that the PP-Vox together would have 163 seats – a result that falls short of the 176 seats needed for a majority in the country’s 350-seat parliament.

These are still early results, however, so they could change as more votes are counted.

In past elections the variation over the course of the count has not tended to be very large, but it could increase or decrease by a handful of seats, leading to changes in the balance of power.

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