The first official exit polls have just been released in Spain and they show that voters have shuffled the deck very difficultly with the right-wing nationalists coming out in big numbers as the Vox party (which wasn’t represented in parliament last elections) winning some 12% according to first estimates.
Just as in other major European nations (Lega Nord in Italy, FN in France and the AfD in Germany), Spanish voters have shown their discontent for the traditional political parties, which are PSOE (Socialists) and Partido Popular (PP, the Conservatives) and votes for the more extreme parties on the political spectrum. In recent years, both the extreme left (Podemos) and the extreme right (Vox) have seen big gains.
Although the Socialist of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez remain the biggest party, and will probably win some 28% of the vote, they will need the nationalists of Catalonia to form a majority government, which many believe he will not risk. A rightwing coalition of three parties therefore seems more likely.
Analysts stated beforehand that Vox, led by Mr Santiago Abascal, would do better than expected given the Catalonian independence referendum which meant that nationalist parties calling for a strong, united Spain would always do well. Vox has furthermore taken a hard anti-immigration stance.
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People in Spain were very interested in these elections, as the turnout figures propose. Two hours before polls closed at 20:00, turnout was 60.7%, compared with 51.2% at the same time in 2016.
Spain will now see far-right politicians seated in their Madrid parliament for the first time since the military dictatorship of General Franco, which ended in the 1980s.
The centrist EU politicians in Brussels must be worried about this result knowing that a similar political earthquake is in store for next month’s European-wide elections.