Spain's conservative ruling party wins plurality in national election

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy won a plurality in Spanish elections
(Image credit: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)

Spaniards were hoping for some clarity in a national election on Sunday, but collectively they appear to have endorsed the gridlock that has prevented the formation of a new government since similarly inconclusive elections in December. As in the last vote, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party won the most seats, 137 (up from 123), but was again shy of the 176 seats need for a majority in the 350-seat parliament. The opposition Socialist Party won 85 seats (down from 90), while two relatively new parties, the leftist, anti-austerity Unidos Podemos party and center-right Ciudananos came in third and fourth, with 71 seats and 32 seats, respectively.

Rajoy declared victory Sunday night, telling supporters in Madrid that "we have won the elections, we demand the right to govern." The election came three days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said his party isn't anti-EU, telling the BBC that he's "sad" about Brexit and that his party hopes "for a different Europe, we will fight for a Europe with social rights as a reality, and we are for Europe and the people in Europe."

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