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Iran Press TV

Spain ruling party falls short of majority as far-right doubles seats in elections

Iran Press TV

Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:06AM

The ruling party of Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wins the general elections but falls short of a majority to form a government again, in results that only bolstered the far-right and are likely to deepen the country's long-running political deadlock.

Sanchez's Spanish Socialist Workers' party (PSOE) won 120 out of a total of 350 parliamentary seats in Sunday's general election, with nearly 99% of votes counted.

The conservative Popular Party (PP) came in second with 88 seats, up from 66 in the previous poll, while far-right Vox won 52 seats, up from just 24 in April.

Sunday's vote was Spain's fourth general election in as many years after the previous vote ended with no clear majority, with the Socialists failing to form a coalition government.

Sanchez had hoped that another election would help strengthen his governing party's hand and break the deadlock gripping the country's political scene.

Addressing supporters after the results came out on Monday, the prime minister made "a call to all the political parties…to unblock the political situation in Spain."

"We have won the election and from tomorrow we will work for that progressive government led by the Socialist Party. Let's go for it," he said.

"We will act with responsibility and generosity and my endeavor this time is to put together a government no matter what," Sanchez added.

The prime minister said he would not include parties that create divisions and "plant a discourse of hate and anti-democracy" in the country.

Santiago Abascal, leader of Vox – the far-right party – which is said to have benefited at the ballot box from the current crisis in Catalonia – said he wanted to build a "patriotic alternative" for the country.

"Today a patriotic alternative and a social alternative has been consolidated in Spain that demands national unity the restoration of constitutional order in Catalonia," Abascal said on Sunday.

The Popular Party leader, Pablo Casado, said the ball was now firmly in the prime minister's court.

"We'll see what Pedro Sanchez suggests and then we'll fulfill our responsibility because Spain can't carry on being deadlocked," he said.

Analysts say that in order to break the political impasse, Sanchez now needs to seek the support of Casado's party or call for a third election in the space of one year.

Vox and the PP, however, could seek to make the most of their gains from the elections.

This is while the central government is engaged in renewed tensions with the regional government of Catalonia.

The wealthy northeastern region has been convulsed by almost daily demonstrations since October 14, after nine politicians and activists were jailed for between nine and 13 years for their role in an independence bid in 2017 that Spain's courts had declared illegal.

The unrest prompted the right-wing parties to call for a tough response from the government in Madrid. They accuse Sanchez of being too soft on the separatists in Catalonia.

Protesters block Spain-France road in Catalonia

In another development, hundreds of protester blocked an important truck route from Catalonia to France on Monday.

They brought traffic to a standstill in both directions, according to Catalan police. Police diverted traffic to another road.

A protest group, known as Democratic Tsunami, called on people to go to the blocked border point, saying on Twitter its goal was to call upon the international community "to make the Spanish state understand that the only way is to sit down to talk."

The group said earlier that it was organizing a three-day protest starting on Monday, which would be its "most ambitious" action.

It organized mass demonstrations, including at Barcelona airport last month.



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