Spain is poised for weeks of political uncertainty after a general election Sunday left the incumbent conservative party with the most seats in parliament, but without its majority and without a clear path toward a coalition, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, leader of Spain’s Popular Party, could be the third European leader this year to be ousted from office after implementing harsh austerity measures.
After the election results were announced, Rajoy confirmed he would still try to form an administration and said his party was “still the number one force.” But the political instability provoked a drop Monday in Madrid’s stock market, with shares on the IBEX 35 falling 2.8 percent in early trading before a slight recovery, the BBC reported.
The Spanish parliament will convene Jan. 13, when King Felipe VI will begin meeting with parties to determine which is best poised to form a government before he nominates a candidate for Prime Minister, who must then win a parliamentary vote of approval before being appointed.
Jose Manuel Villegas, deputy leader of the liberal Ciudadanos party, said the fragmented election results have demonstrated that Spain’s traditional two-party system has come to an end. The Popular Party and the Socialist Party have alternated control over the country for decades, but this election saw an upswing in votes for the Ciudadanos party and the anti-austerity Podemos party.
“The two ancient parties — the old left and the old right — won’t have power anymore,” Villegas said.
Rajoy’s Popular Party took 28.72 percent of the vote on Sunday, with the Socialists claiming 22.01 percent, the Podemos 20.66 percent and the Ciudadanos 13.93 percent. The results have left no natural coalition, as neither an alliance between the Popular Party and Ciudadanos nor the Socialists and the Podemos would yield enough seats for a majority.