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Spain's Ruling Party Scores Win But No Majority in Sunday Poll

  • VOA News

Popular Party leader and current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy greets supporters from the balcony of the party's headquarters in Madrid, Dec. 20, 2015.

Popular Party leader and current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy greets supporters from the balcony of the party's headquarters in Madrid, Dec. 20, 2015.

Spain's ruling Conservative Party won the most votes in Sunday's parliamentary polls, but a strong showing from two new opposition parties nonetheless threatens its grip on power.

With nearly all votes counted, the conservative Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was winning 121 seats in the 350-member parliament - a tally far below the 186 majority it now holds. Rajoy's seeming natural ally, the new, business-friendly Ciudadanos Party, was set to win 40.

The same tallies show a bloc of leftist parties, including Socialists, the anti-austerity Podemos Party, a former communist party and two smaller groupings would jointly hold 175 seats.

With several coalition scenarios possible, analysts say it may well take weeks or longer for negotiators to settle on what kind of alliance will rule Spain.

But as the last votes were being tallied early Monday, it became increasingly clear that the days of Spain's traditional two-party dominance of political life is at least temporarily at an end.

"Spain has changed," jubilant senior Podemos leader Inigo Errejon told reporters. "Many people have lost their confidence in traditional parties. The two-party system has ended."

In pre-election surveys, Podemos was shown steadily gaining on the two major parties, providing evidence that the Spanish electorate had grown weary of traditional party rule.

Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Rajoy voted in a suburb of Madrid, telling reporters he was confident "people will choose what they think is best for their country."

Rajoy's conservatives are seeking a second term, after a landslide win over the Socialists in 2011.

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