Madrid, April 29 (IANS) The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he would form a “pro-European” government in the wake of his ruling party’s victory in Sunday’s general election.
Data published by the Spanish Interior Ministry showed that with over 99 per cent of the votes counted, the PSOE won 28.70 per cent of the votes to win 123 seats in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies, reports Xinhua news agency.
This means the PSOE had 37 more seats than in the June 2016 election when the Socialists won 22.63 per cent of the vote and 85 seats.
Sunday saw the Socialists win 57 more seats than the right-wing People’s Party (PP), who ranked second in the election, but saw their vote share plunge from 33.01 per cent in June 2016 to 16.69 per cent on Sunday as support for right wing parties was split into three.
The PP lost votes to Albert Rivera’s centre-right party Ciudadanos, which gained 15.85 per cent of the votes and won 57 seats, while the extreme right wing Vox claimed 10.26 per cent of the votes to enter Congress for the first time with 24 seats.
“The Socialist party has won the election and with that, we have won the future and left the past behind,” said Sanchez from his party’s headquarters here on Sunday night.
“We have shown this is a great and solid democracy, where millions of people have voted to defend democracy and the future.”
Sanchez said that the victory of the left against the right-wing block showed that Spaniards “don’t want to go backwards, but want a country that looks to the future”.
“We have also sent a message to the Spanish people, Europe and the world that you can win against reactionaries and authoritarianism,” he added.
Although he will now need to form a coalition government, Sanchez was clear the election was “a question of winning and governing”, and that “we have won the election and we are going to govern Spain”.
Sunday’s elections saw a turnout rate of 75.75 per cent, a 9-point increase since 2016 and the highest since the 77.4 per cent registered in 1996. The all-time peak for voter participation was 79.97 per cent in 1982.