Electoral night in Spain has left an indefinite panorama. The Popular Party (PP), led by Alberto Nunez Feijoo, has obtained a result below expectations and parliamentary arithmetic will not allow the right-wing leader to be sworn in as Prime Minister.
However, on the opposite side of the chamber, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), led by Pedro Sanchez, with a much better result than predicted by the polls, also finds it difficult to obtain the necessary support from the rest of the parliamentary forces to facilitate its investiture and, later, to allow it to govern.
The unexpected result has left a aftertaste of defeat in the party that has won the most seats and a taste of victory in who has been left with the second position. For the first time, the two parties with the greatest national presence in the country have come out to their respective balconies to celebrate the results on the same election night. Feijoo celebrated its almost 8.1 million votes translated into 136 seats and Sanchez his 7.7 million votes that ensured him 122 deputies.
However, the hangover from the elections leaves a good number of readings and questions in the air.
The great surprise of the day has been the result obtained by the President of the Government and Socialist candidate, Pedro Sanchez, who will now be able to add another chapter to his book ‘Manual de Resistencia’, after having left all the negative expectations about his party on paper.
All the polls gave him an average of 110 seats, 10 less than those obtained in 2019, and his role at the head of his party was practically amortized. However, he has improved the results of the last elections and he has been left at only 330,000 votes from the popular ones, which allows him to try to revalidate the position.
In addition, the Socialists have devastated key territories, such as Andalusia, the Basque Country and Catalonia. In the latter, it has been the force with the most votes, with a wide margin, leaving the pro-independence forces with the worst result in decades.
Sumar, the project of the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz, has won 31 seats. Although it is about six fewer seats Of those achieved in 2019 by the sum of the formations that now make up the party, the result is seen as highly positive.
On the one hand, his strength makes feasible to reissue a progressive coalition government like the one that has taken place in the country in the legislature that is now ending.
On the other, they did not start from 2019, but from the regional and municipal elections on May 28, where the progressive forces to the left of the socialists suffered a big debacleespecially Podemos —the most important formation of those that are under the umbrella of Sumar— which practically disappeared from the map.
Feijoo victim of expectations
The paradox of the night was starred by the leader of the PP, Feijoo. Nails on polls that came to give him more than 160 seats and the euphoria unleashed in his party after the great result obtained on May 28, the 136 deputies achieved —47 more than in 2019— have a bittersweet taste.
On the one hand, this pyrrhic victory and the poor results of Vox make it practically impossible for Feijoo to be sworn in as president. He needs 176 votes in Congress and does not reach them by adding to the extreme rightwhile the bridges are burned with almost all minority forces.
In addition, Feijoo’s leadership begins to be questioned. Last night, while the popular leader gave his thank you speech, which was intended to be a celebration, the supporters of his formation began to cheer “Ayuso, Ayuso, Ayuso!”. Thus, it begins to be rumored that if a repeat election were finally reached, he could not be a candidate and be replaced by the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.
The collapse of the extreme right
Unmitigated defeat came for the far-right Vox party. Lost 19 of 52 seats which he achieved four years ago and more than 600,000 votes were left along the way.
His weakness now, in addition to making the sum with the PP impossible, also takes away some of the weapons that he had used during this last legislature. like this, not anymore may file unconstitutionality appeals before the Constitutional Court, something he did up to 40 times in the last 4 years.
Neither can he present motions of censure, like the two that he presented that helped him to monopolize the public debate and gain visibility, despite not having any chance of prospering. For the former, 50 deputies are needed and for the latter, 35. Now it has won 33 seats.
The impossible pacts
The distribution of the votes between the progressive and conservative blocks have made it very difficult to achieve the investiture of a president. Congress is made up of 350 deputies and to invest a candidate it is necessary absolute majority —at least 176— on first vote or simple majority —more yeses than noes. Here the abstentions in the second round become important.
The PP, with 136 seats, and Vox, with 33, are far from the long-awaited 176 votes. In addition, they could only count on the support of the only deputy from the Union del Pueblo Navarro (UPN) and the only deputy from the Canary Islands Coalition (CC). In all, 171.
For their part, the Socialist Party (122) and Sumar (31) would reach 153, two fewer than the coalition government had up to now. It would be feasible for it to have the support of the 7 seats of the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), the 6 of EH Bildu, the 5 of the PNV and one of the BNG. In all, 172.
In this scenario, Junts per Catalunya (JuntsxCat) becomes vitally important, the conservative independence party of Carles Puigdemontsince their support, or their abstention, is essential for Sanchez to revalidate the position.
Its candidate, Miriam Nogueras, has already said that he will not make Sanchez president for nothing. On the table is a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia and amnesty for those convicted of the ‘proces’, something that the socialist president could hardly offer.
And now that?
Now comes the turn of King Felipe VI. After consulting with parliamentary spokespersons, you should propose a candidate to the investiture that will present its program before the lower house and it will be put to a vote.
It is not yet known whether he will opt for the candidate who has obtained the most votes and seats, Feijoo, or for the one who has the most parliamentary support and the best chance of winning the backing of the Chamber, Sanchez.
The proposals will be processed successively while no candidate manages to get more yeses than noes among the deputies. If none succeeds within two months, a repeat election would take place, possibly at the end of the year.
The CERA vote is still missing
There is still one more question that could change the game board. This is the so-called CERA vote, that is, that of the citizens Spaniards living abroad. Currently there are more than two million of people in that registry, mainly residents in Argentina, France, the US and Cuba.
These votes will be counted in a scrutiny that will take place five days after the electionthat is, on Friday of this week, July 28, at the Casa de Campo fair complex in Madrid.
These votes could become keys in up to 9 provinceswhere the last seat could change hands and upset the balance that turned out this Sunday.