Madrid, Spain – The governing Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) has won the country’s general election with 123 seats after 99.9 percent of the votes were counted.
PSOE’s historical centre-right rival, the People’s Party (PP), won 66 seats in Sunday’s election in Spain.
Speaking to supporters in Madrid, PSOE leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said “the future has won” after his party won about 30 percent of the vote. Turnout was about 75 percent.
Supporters chanted “With Rivera, no!” at the rally, referring to Albert Rivera, the leader of Citizens, a party that considers itself centrist but allied with PP and Vox, leading to further criticism that it is far right.
PP won 66 seats, a decrease of 71 seats from the previous government.
PP leader Pablo Casado told supporters on Sunday evening that the party will “continue to lead the opposition and the centre-right” of Spain.
Citizens won 57 seats, a gain of 25, while Vox made historic gains with 24 seats representing the far right’s return to Spanish national politics.
Sanchez announced that he would soon open talks with other political parties to form a coalition.
In Catalonia, which has its own language, voters turned out beyond expectations.
The Catalan Republican Left (ERC) – headed by Oriol Junqueras, who is facing trial on charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement of public funds over a 2017 referendum on Catalan independence – is projected to win 13 or 14 seats.
That number is unprecedented for the Catalan nationalist party. If ERC agrees to a coalition with PSOE and UP, a government could likely be formed.
However, PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez has taken a tough stance against Catalan independence, saying there would be “no referendum and no independence” during a rally in Barcelona on Friday.
Gerardo Rodriguez, a 42-year-old having lunch in front of a church, said he voted PSOE in part to Sanchez’s tough stance on Catalan independence.
“Politically, I am in the centre. I have voted for both PP and PSOE in the past,” Rodriguez said.
“I didn’t want to vote PP because of Vox, but I was concerned with Sanchez’s stance towards Catalan independence,” he continued. “When he said there would be no independence, I was convinced.”
Rodriguez said he admired PP leader Pablo Casado’s tough stance towards Catalan independence, but found his willingness to partner with far-right Vox distasteful.
“I grew up hearing stories from my family about how horrible” life was under fascist dictator Franco.
Members of Vox spoke warmly of Franco. “I couldn’t vote for anyone who would work with them,” Rodriguez said.
Final results are expected early on Monday.