Spain’s Rajoy claims right to form government after poll win

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he would make a push for power after his conservatives won more seats in parliament in a repeat general election on Sunday, even though it still fell short of a majority. His Popular Party (PP) was the big winner of the election, the second in six months, which played out amid the turbulence from Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union. The party, which portrayed itself as the guardian of stability, won 137 seats in the 350-strong lower house of parliament – 14 more than in December and more than what pre-election polls predicted. All other parties lost votes or seats, in some cases both.

It’s been hard, it’s been difficult, it’s been complicated, but we put up a fight for Spain.

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

The Socialists held on to second place like in December, though with just 85 seats, their worst score in modern history. The far-left Unidos Podemos coalition came third with 71 seats, reversing pre-election expectations that it could leapfrog over the Socialists and replace them as the main left-wing force. Market-friendly party Ciudadanos, meanwhile, finished fourth as in December with 32 seats, down from 40, as many of the party’s voters moved back to the PP. Without a majority, PP will need to seek the outright or tacit support of other parties to get a coalition or minority government through. But other parties have been reluctant to back the PP, which has been tainted by a string of corruption scandals and anger over high unemployment and the steep public spending cuts it has put in place.