Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he will try to put together a new government after his Popular Party won the most votes in Sunday's parliamentary election, but is still far from a majority.
"We have the responsibility to launch a process of dialogue to offer certainty within and outside Spain," Rajoy said. "Spain cannot afford a period of political lack of clarity that would spoil the progress achieved during these years."
Rajoy's conservative Popular Party won 123 seats in the 350-seat parliament — far short of being able to form a government on its own.
The Socialists finished second, followed by two new parties — the anti-austerity Podemos party and the pro-business Ciudadanos party.
Both new parties won enough seats to break the long and deeply entranced hold that the Socialists and Popular Party have had on Spanish politics.
Both new parties, along with the Socialists, say they will not back Rajoy in a coalition, giving the prime minister few other places where he can turn and leaving Spain facing months of political limbo.
Spanish voters were angry at the conservatives' austerity measures that came as part of the economic bailout.
Along with tax increases and spending cuts, Spain also has a 21 percent unemployment rate.