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2023 Spanish Elections: A Hung Parliament for the Fifth Time

After the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) lost the majority in local government elections early this year, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez dissolved the parliament and called for a new parliament election, citing the results showing a change in what the voters want from their government. On July 23rd, this new election occurred. 

Winners

People’s Party 

The centre-right Christian Conservative party won majorly in the local elections in May, winning the majority there. They continued winning, grabbing 47 seats, up 12% from their 2019 performance. Their total number of seats currently sits at 136 seats, 40 seats short of an outright majority. 

Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party

The centre-left ruling party lost its majority control of local governments and was predicted to lose majorly in this election. The expectation was a loss of 14-17 seats. However, they overperformed, gaining 2 seats, up 3% from 2019. 

Losers 

VOX

The far-right party suffered the most significant loss in the election. The party dropped 19 seats, putting their total at 33 seats. This performance was at the low end of their predicted seat count. This result is shocking as VOX nearly doubled their elected officials in the local elections in May. 

People’s Party & VOX Coalition Government 

The coalition that was predicted to become the ruling government has failed because of the underperformance of the two. They came up 8 seats short of a majority. While still the largest coalition, it is nowhere near enough to form a majority government as most centrist parties do not want to align with the coalition to push it over the edge.

All Other Parties

None of the smaller parties in Spain gained seats. The newly formed left-wing alliance Unite dropped 7 seats, resulting in 31 seats. The pro-Catalian independence parties both lost seats. Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), the left-wing independence party, lost 6 seats, bringing them down to 7 seats. The big tent independence party Together for Catalonia lost 1 seat, tying them with the ERC with 7 seats. 

What Will Happen Now?

Next month, the King of Spain will meet with the leaders of the parties to name who he believes has enough support to form a government and will decide who will be the candidate for Prime Minister. The King will name a candidate. The selected leader will be given time to find support in the parliament. If the named candidate fails to gain enough votes, it will trigger a new election.

If Prime Minister Sanchez is named candidate, if he can strike a deal on the left with regional parties (which he has done in the past) and a deal with Together for Catalonia to not support the PP & VOX coalition (which is possible because more moderate parties do not want to align with a far-right party like VOX) could see him gain enough votes in the parliament to win. 

On the flip side, the People’s Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo said he would attempt to form a minority government with VOX and will argue to the King that he has received the most votes, so he should be named the candidate and given the chance.