Spain’s Conservative Party Poised to Lead Government Negotiations as Socialist Rule May Come to an End

Spain’s Conservative Party Poised to Lead Government Negotiations as Socialist Rule May Come to an End

According to exit polls released by RTVE, Spain’s conservative party, Partido Popular (PP), is expected to take the lead in negotiations to form a new government in Madrid. These results indicate a potential end to the socialist rule of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The PP secured between 145 and 150 seats, while the incumbent socialist party, PSOE, obtained between 113 and 118 seats. It is important to note that an absolute majority requires 176 seats.

Third Largest Political Force

With neither of the two major parties securing a clear majority, attention is now focused on determining the third largest political force to emerge from Sunday’s election. The position of the far-right party Vox remains uncertain, as exit polls suggest it is in a close race with the left-leaning Sumar party for this spot.

Potential Alliance with Vox

A significant question arising from this election is whether the PP will form a formal alliance with Vox. If this were to happen, it would mark the first time since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1975 that the far right has returned to power. Exit polls indicate that a right-wing bloc could potentially have a working majority. Although the PP and Vox have previously governed together in three of Spain’s regions, working together at the national level may present additional challenges.

Controversies and Concerns

Members of Alberto Feijóo’s conservative party have expressed concerns about Vox’s stance on LGBT rights and immigration. Vox has faced criticism from mainstream politicians for its opposition to abortion rights and denial of climate change, among other policies.

The snap election was called due to the socialist PSOE’s significant defeat in the regional and municipal polls held in May. General elections were originally scheduled for the end of this year. Notably, this Sunday vote was the first to take place during the summer, and the extreme heat experienced in various parts of the country in recent weeks may have influenced voters’ perspectives on climate policy.

While Pedro Sanchez has been Spain’s prime minister since 2018, his tenure has been marked by criticism. He faced backlash for pardoning politicians who supported regional independence and for issues related to the “only yes means yes” sexual consent law, which resulted in reduced jail time for many convicted rapists due to a loophole.

However, Sanchez’s economic track record has proven strong leading up to the election. Spain’s economy achieved a growth rate above 5% in 2022 and is projected to expand by approximately 1.5% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Additionally, inflation in the country, the fourth-largest economy in Europe, remains one of the lowest. In June, Spain became the first economy in the region to report an inflation rate below 2%, down from the historic highs of 2022, as reported by the country’s economy ministry. Despite these economic successes, political experts have emphasized that the Sunday vote primarily focused on cultural and societal matters.


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