As it happened: Ruling PP wins but falls far short of absolute majority

With more than 90 percent of the votes counted, the PP have been dealt a crushing blow losing more than 60 seats, even if they did win the most votes.

As it happened: Ruling PP wins but falls far short of absolute majority
Outside PP headquarters. Photo: AFP
– With more than 99 percent of votes counted the ruling Popular Party (PP) have won most seats but not enough for an absolute majority. 
– Mariano Rajoy will have first crack at forming a government
– The PSOE came in second place 
– Podemos has done better than expected, while Ciudadanos has not done quite as well as last week's polls forecast
– Ciudadanos did not meet expectations and came in a disappointing fourth place but they will still send 40 new MPs to parliament.
– With plurality comes uncertainty

00:30 That's all folks

That is almost all the votes counted and all the party leaders have each given their “victory speeches”.

It will be up to Mariano Rajoy now to try and form a government as his party won the most votes. “I will try and form a government. What Spain needs is a stable government,” he said from the balcony of the Popular Party headquarters.

Meanwhile, Pedro Sanchez, socialist leader of the PSOE, will be in the wings seeking to step up with a left wing coalition if (and when) Rajoy fails to garner support as PM.

Podemos supporters are going home jubilant that they have become the third political force, while Ciudadanos believe they can wield influence with their 40 MPs.

Spain’s two-party system is dead but what lies ahead beyond uncertainty and a lot of pact building?

And so ends our live election coverage

00:11 Rajoy addresses crowds in Madrid “I will try to form a government”


Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy addressed flag-waving PP supporters from a balcony outside the party's headquarters in Madrid. 

“We've won the elections, thank you, because I know things haven't been easy, now we're stronger for the future,” he said, referencing the harsh austerity measures adopted by his government. 

“I'm going to try and form a government,” said Rajoy, adding that “Spain needs a stable government”. 

“I will form a government with the sole aim of serving the needs of the Spanish people,” he concluded. 

Now the hard work begins. Who will help Rajoy form the government?

00:01 “Today everything starts”

Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera has spoken pledging to work to make Spain a better place with the 40 seats won by his party.

He has pledged work for electoral reform, a national pact for education, and to clean up politics.

“We will work to make Spain a better place for our children”.

23:47 Socialist leader speaks, supporters want him for prime minister

Despite his party's dismal results, the irony is that Socialist leader could end up as prime minister if his party forms a left-wing coalition with Podemos and Ciudadanos. 

23:40 Environmentalists cheer Podemos result 

23:38 Counting almost complete

98 percent counted and this is the allocation of seats:

PP wins biggest share with 122 seats (64 less than in 2011)

PSOE comes in a clear second with 91 seats (down from 110)

Podemos becomes third polticial force winning 69 seats

And Ciudadanos trailing in fourth place with 40 seats

23.33 Speech from Barcelona mayor Ada Colau

Colau was one of the Podemos-supported mayors who swept into power during Spain's regional elections this year.

She took to the stage in Barcelona where she made a moving speech, full of emotion. She shouted “I am proud” so many times her voice cracked and added “Thank you for proving the impossible is possible”. 

Colau is echoing the feelings of many Podemos supporters tonight, who see the result as an overwhelming victory for their young party, which is not even two years old. 

23:28 Victory speech from Podemos

Pablo Iglesias has been giving a victory speech and outlining what he will and won't accept. Constitutional reform is mandatory, and a referendum on Catalonia. “Today a new Spain is born,” said the Podemos leader.

.23:07 Deputy PM announcing election results live on TV: “PP has won election”

Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party won Sunday's general election with 28.7 percent of the vote, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.

“According to the information we have, with 90.39 percent of the ballots counted, the Popular Party won this general election,” she said.

The Socialists came in second place with 22.19 percent support, she added, closely followed by the new left-wing Podemos party in third place.

She refused to comment on possible pacts. 

Screen shot: RTVE

23:04 Podemos supporters are joyous

The Local's George Mills is down at the Plaza Reina Sofia in a sea of purple.

22:59 Ciudadanos rules out lending support to either Rajoy or Sánchez as Prime Minister.

Ciudadanos leaders confirm they will not support Mariano Rajoy or Pedro Sánchez as Prime Minsiter.  

22:48 Supporters out in force 

PP supporters are typically older Spaniards but these young hipsters were out supporting the ruling conservatives tonight. 

Ciudadanos supporters looking downcast at a worse than expected result. Photo: AFP

22:25 What we have learnt so far: 

Despite the weak smiles at the PP headquarters it has been a crushing defeat for the government. They have lost at least a third of the seats they held in 2011 although they will cling on the fact that they have remained the most voted for party.

Outside PP headquarters in Madrid. Photo: AFP

The PSOE loss in comparison is not so dreadful. They are down a mere dozen or so seats from the last general election but bear in mind that they were dealt a thrashing five years ago.

The big winner is Podemos who have gone from nothing to sending at least 70 candidates to parliament.

Ciudadanos have proved a big disappointment, winning half the seats of the radical left party, after being predicted in some polls to win the second largest share of the votes.

But one thing is apparent – there is no clear coalition in the offing, meaning we could have weeks of uncertainity ahead.   

So this is what happens when you abandon the two-party system.

22:18 And the winner is…

While polls have Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy at the head of Spain’s most voted party for another four years, there is one list where he didn't make the cut.

Back in July celebrity Magazine Zeleb put together a list of Spain’s 16 hottest politicians, Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez was a shoo-in, as was the leader of Ciudadanos Albert Rivera.
Neither Pablo Iglesias of Podemos nor Alberto Garzón (the head of the United Left) made the original list, but were included after Iglesias, complained about Garzón’s absence. 

Pablo Casado. Photo: PP
Other popular inclusions on the list (at least at The Local) were Teresa Rodríguez, the Podemos deputy for Andalusia and Pablo Casado, spokesperson for the PP in the Basque Country.
But poor old Rajoy didn’t make it onto the list, despite that sexy granddad beard.

21:59 Just over 60 percent of the votes are now counted

And this is what the seat distribution looks like:

PP: 124

PSOE: 95

Podemos (and partners):  70

Ciudadanos: 33

21:56 What next? Coalition scenarios based on exit polls 

Based on the upper estimations of seats won for their various parties in the RTVE exit polls, here are the possible coalition groupings, and the likelihood of them actually forming.
Remember that a total of 176 seats is needed to  form an absolute majority in the Spanish system
PP + PSOE: 203 seats  

Rajoy (PP) and Sánchez (PSOE) Photo: AFP
A German-style grand coalition of the large two established parties seems unlikely as their policies are very different they would likely alienate their core voters if they were ever to try and form a government together.
PP + Ciudadanos: 168 seats
These two parties share common ground on economic liberalism and a desire to uphold the unity of Spain in face of Catalan breakaway movement But squeaky clean Ciudadanos would be reluctant to form government with a corruption-tainted PP.
This may be a moot point anyway, as exit poll results show the two parties wouldn’t jointly win enough seats to form government.
PSOE + Ciudadanos: 135 seats
These two parties have very little in common and it would hardly suit Ciudadanos to be a junior partner to the Socialists in a coalition. At present, a coalition between the two would see them fall some 40 seats short of an absolute majority.
PSOE + Podemos: 165 seats
These two-left wing parties share common ground on social policies but PSOE is part of the established order which Podemos has sworn to overthrow and the Podemos leadership could look hypocritical if they were to join forced with the Socialists. Based on exit poll results, this coalition would not obtain more than 50 percent of seats. 
PSOE + Podemos + Ciudadanos: 215 seats

Photo: AFP
The RTVE exit polls are giving the PP the largest number of seats, but they could still be locked out of a government if the Socialists, Podemos and Ciudadanos were to form an anti-PP bloc. Whether such a bloc would actually constitute a functioning government is another question. Ciudadanos and Podemos, in particular, might struggle to find common ground.

21:40 “Spain's two-party system is dead”

Talking about the two-party system that has predominated Spanish politics since its transition to democracy, Podemos number two Íñigo Errejón says: “The days of taking it in turns are over and we have opened a new era”

21:35 Podemos supporters cheering the exit polls in Madrid 

Photo: AFP

21:20 Some great business opportunities tonight! 

21:10 First official results (with 9.7 percent of the vote counted)

PP: 118 seats (26.2 percent)

PSOE: 97 seats (23 percent)

Podemos: 64 seats (19.7 percent)

Ciudadanos: 26 seats (10.1 percent) 

Note that these results are based on less than 10 percent of the total vote and are very preliminary. 

21:05 Exit polls show a Podemos win in Catalonia 

The poll shows:

En comu Podem (Catalan version of Podemos) – 12-13

The left-wing independence party the ERC – 9-11

The Socialists (PSC): 7-8 

Ciudadanos: 7-8 

DiLI: 6-7

PP: 5-6 

21:00 Quiet outside PP headquarters 

Could it be Feliz Navidad for the ruling PP?

20:50: Nailbiting situation for the PP

“Polls: Terrible result for PSOE which, paradoxically, could form the biggest alternative bloc along with two other parties”

20:46 PP spokesman reacts to exit polls

20:45: Let's look at the stats 
Time for a dose of stats everybody (come on- you know it’s good for you).
36,510,592 people enrolled to vote in today’s general election, an increase of over 700,000 on the 2011 total
91,702 is the number of security personal on duty to ensure the safe running of today’s election. This is higher than in the past as Spain is still on terror alert level 4, or the second highest level of threat.
208 is the number of senators who will be elected today
176 is the number of seats required for any party to hold an absolute majority in the Spanish parliament. The PP has 186 seats.
963 people have requested ballets in Braille for today’s elections. 

Photo: AFP

79.9 percent is the highest ever turnout at a Spanish general election – in 1982.
210,000 urns be in use today in 8,123 municipalities across Spain as will 58,000 voting booths
3% the minimum number of votes a party needs to get to win to have a chance of being represented in the Spanish parliament
20.33 A PP/Ciudadanos alliance would still fail to reach an absolute majority

20:25 Exit polls – what we know so far

According to the first two exit polls the ruling PP has won the most seats. RTVE is giving them 114-118 seats while Antena 3 is giving them 121-124 seats. Both these totals fall well below the 176 seats needed to maintain the absolute majority they currently enjoy. 

The PSOE has won 81-85 seats according to RTVE and 79-83 according to Antena 3 – if the Antena 3 results are correct, this would be the worst showing ever for the Socialists. 

Both polls are putting Podemos in third place and Ciudadanos in fourth. 

If this is the case, Podemos has done much better than forecast in pre-election polls, while Ciudadanos has not done as well as expected. 

20:17 On the ground at PP headquarters 

The Local´s editor, Fiona Govan, is on the ground at PP headquarters. 

20:13 Antena3 exit poll also shows win for PP

Results of an exit poll by Spanish television station Antena 3 show the ruling Popular Party will be the most voted with 28.15 percent of the vote. 

20:00: First exit polls coming out now

With polling stations closed now for the day, national broadcaster RTVE has just released its first exit poll results.
Here’s what they are saying: 
PP: 114 to 118 seats (26.8 percent)
PSOE: 81 to 85 seats (21.7 percent)
Podemos: 76 to 80 seats (20.5 percent)
Ciudadanos: 47 to 50 seats (15.5 percent) 
This would not give the PP enough seats to reach an absolute majority.
Remember these results are very preliminary.

19.45: Welcome to The Local's live blog of the Spanish general election

Welcome to The Local's live blog. We will be following all the latest from Spain's general election once the polls close at 8pm.

Spanish general election: the main players 

Spain has gone to the polls today to elect all 350 members of its lower house of parliament in the tightest election in decades which polls suggest will end the traditional two party system. 

It will be the 12th general election since the country returned to democracy following the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.

The outgoing parliament has 124 female lawmakers, who represent just over 35 percent of the total. That compares to an average of 25.9 percent in parliaments across Europe, according to the Switzerland-based Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organisation of parliaments.

Post election scenarios: who will be Spain's next Prime Minister?

The campaign gets violent 

Mariano Rajoy suffered a painful end to his campaign to be re-elected as prime minister when on Wednesday, he was punched in the face by a cousin of his wife. Could the incident have generated some last-minute sympathy for Spain's PM, we wonder?



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