Spain's repeat parliamentary elections failed on Sunday to spell out the country's immediate political future, with leading parties claiming about the same number of votes as they won late last year. The inconclusive outcome in December spawned six months of failed negotiations that led to Sunday's balloting.
With nearly all votes counted, the People's Party of caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was poised to win 136 seats, far short of the 176 needed to gain an absolute majority in the 350-member parliament, but 14 more than won in December. Efforts since then to find coalition support from rival parties have failed.
The nearly complete results tallied by the Interior Ministry showed the center-left Socialist Party running second with 85 seats -- five fewer than it won six months ago.
The radical anti-austerity Unidos Podemos (United We Can) alliance, which includes the communists and Greens, was shown winning 71 seats. That alliance had hoped to overtake the socialists, in a bid to break the country's traditional two-party control over public life in Europe's fifth largest economy.
The business friendly Ciudadanos Party, once seen as a natural ally of Prime Minister Rajoy and his followers, was finishing fourth with 32 seats.
With Sunday's inconclusive results, the parties are again expected to return to the negotiating table, for talks that analysts say are likely to prove challenging. By early Monday, however, no new talks had been announced.