Spanish Electorate give a collective thumbs down to their two major parties.

Spain went to the polls yesterday in their tightest ever general election. The incumbent Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy was seeking a second term after his Partido Popular party swept to power in 2011.

However, after a four years of high unemployment and continuing cuts more anti establishment parties such as Podemos, have began to gain traction in Spanish society, making the outcome of yesterdays election very messy indeed.

How does Spain elect their MPs?

  • MPs are elected in 50 multi-member districts using proportional representation. Each district is home to at least two members.
  • Spain’s North African enclaves Ceuta and Melilla elect one member each while 248 seats are allocated among the provinces in proportion to their respective populations.


Here is show the parties ended up as the networks went off air at midnight;

Spain 2

Regionally the PP dominated in the midlands, PSOE held their ground in the South and Podemos made big advances in the North East.

Spain 3

What happens next?

A government can be formed with a simple majority, meaning that a party or coalition can govern as a minority without having more than 176 seats which would give an overall majority in parliament.

PM Spain

Coalition options are as follows

Left wing coalition- PSOE-PODEMOS-159 seats (plus Nats could get them to near 176).  They could do a deal with some of the nationalist parties, the last PSOE government had confidence and supply arrangement with some of them.

Rainbow coalition-PSOE-PODEMOS-Ciudadanos- 199 seats. This would be a hard one for PODEMOS as the more centrist PSOE/Ciudadanos  would be able to out vote them in a coalition government.

Partido Popular/Ciudadanos -163 seats. This would mean Rajoy would have to pull his government away from the right and the Citizens would likely drive a hard bargain in any coalition.

There is the possibility of a grand coalition between the PSOE/Partido Popular, but it should be noted the PSOE leader has ruled this out and the two leaders don’t get along.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

  • Ernekid

    It’s interesting to see the Catalonians leaning heavily towards Podemos. This election could be a catalyst for an Catalonian independence referendum that could have all sorts of reprecussions in the wider EU. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of government emerges from these results.

  • Clanky

    Podemos have repeatedly stated that they would prefer to see Spain remain together so I think this swing to Podemos en Cataluña is more indicative of the fact that the recent upsurge in Nationalism is more a rejection of rigjt wing austerity politics then any real anti-Spanish sentiment.

    For me the most sustainable co-alition would be PSOE / PODEMOS / nats, I can’t see any of the other parties being able to stomach a PP with Rajoy at the helm.

  • Gingray

    Good summary David.

    Hard to see anything other than the Spanish electorate going back to the polls in a years time regardless of coalition.

  • Clanky

    I think a return to the polls would result in big gains for PP / PSOE as the new parties would be seen to have not achieved anything and simply unstabilised the system.