Conservative People's Party win Spanish election but no majority for right-wing bloc

Socialists beat polls to gain two seats, but options tricky for either side to form government

People's Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo speaks to supporters in Madrid following the count of July 23 Spanish election results
People's Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo speaks to supporters in Madrid following the count of July 23 Spanish election results / Andrea Zamorano
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

July 23, 2023 09:58 PM

July 24, 2023 11:51 AM

With 99.94% of the votes counted, the conservative People's Party (PP) have come out on top in the Spanish general election with 136 seats, a gain of 47, but the right-wing bloc do not have a majority in the congress after Sunday's vote. 

The PP and far-right Vox combined won a total of 169 seats, short of the 176 needed for a majority in the chamber, as Vox won 33 MPs, a loss of 19 compared to the last election. 

Meanwhile, despite finishing second, and also being left without a majority among the left-wing bloc combined with Sumar, it was a good night for the Socialist party. 

The party of current PM Pedro Sánchez defied the polls by gaining two seats and improved in the overall number of votes received. 

Pedro Sánchez greets Socialist supporters in Madrid following Sunday's general election
Pedro Sánchez greets Socialist supporters in Madrid following Sunday's general election / Roger Pi de Cabanyes

Yolanda Díaz's left-wing Sumar, which subsumed Unidas Podemos, won 31 seats, giving the left bloc a total of 153. 

Catalan pro-independence parties Esquerra Republicana and Junts per Catalunya won 7 seats each.  

Basque parties Eh Bildu and PNV won 6 and 5 seats respectively, while single seats were also won by Galician party BNG, the Canaries Coalition, and Union del Pueblo Navarro.  

After the 2019 election, the Socialists and Podemos were able to take power of the executive thanks to the support of PNV and BNG, plus the abstentions of Esquerra and Eh Bildu.

Prospects to form government

Options for both the left- and right-wing blocs to form a government look difficult as neither side have won a majority after Sunday's vote. 

PP and Vox won a combined 169 seats, 7 short of what would be a majority in the 350-seat congress. 

The Socialists and Sumar won 153, but may be more likely to find support from other parties as they have in the past. 

The left bloc's 153 could reach deals with the Basque parties, Galicia's BNG, and perhaps Esquerra Republicana as they have before, but combined this still may not be enough.

In the end, hardline pro-independence Junts may be pivotal to naming the next Spanish PM, or else deciding that the nation will go to the polls again if a new leader cannot be named. 

Sánchez would be named PM again if he gains more yes votes than no among the 350 lawmakers in congress, which could require at least an abstention from the Catalan parties.  

Discussions will no doubt be tricky, as Junts MP Míriam Nogueras confirmed tonight: "Our priority is Catalonia and not Spain."

"We will not back a prime ministerial bid by Socialist Pedro Sánchez in exchange for nothing," the Junts politician said. 

Socialists to seek Junts abstention

Sitting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez celebrated the "failure" of the right-wing in Sunday's election in front of two thousand gathered supporters in Madrid. 

In a brief speech, the leader of the Socialists said that "there are many more of us who want Spain to move forward, and it will continue to be so."

"The regressive bloc that wants to go back in time and proposed repealing all of our policy achievements of the past four years has failed," Sánchez said.


Sources from the party let it be known that the left-wing bloc will seek the support of Catalan pro-independence parties to form a new government in Spain. 

Key to that will be Junts per Catalunya, who generally take a much more hardline stance against assisting the executive in Spain on either side of the political divide.

They will also need to convince Esquerra Republicana to at least abstain in the vote to name a new head of government, although ERC and the Socialists have found plenty of common ground to reach agreements in recent history. 

Yolanda Díaz, leader of the the left-wing platform Sumar that contested its first ever election on Sunday, confirmed that she will be engaging in discussions to gather the support of lawmakers from tomorrow. 

"From tomorrow, I will start speaking with all progressive and democratic parties in Spain to guarantee a government in the country," Díaz said.


PP "open to dialogue" 

The leader of the conservative People's Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, said that he will open "dialogue" with other political parties in hopes of forming a new government.

"With all humility, but also with all determination, I take charge of starting the dialogue to form a government in accordance with the will of the majority of ballots," the former Galician president said from the party headquarters in Madrid.

Feijóo added that he hopes that no other party "be tempted to block Spain."


"No PM has ever governed after losing an election," Feijóo said about Sánchez's prospects of garnering the support of MPs in congress. "We are the alternative option," he insisted.

Vox, meanwhile, suffered a bruising defeat in Sunday's vote, losing 19 seats in congress and missing out on the right-wing majority with PP.

Their leader, Santiago Abascal, lamented that Pedro Sánchez "despite losing the election, can still block a prime ministerial vote."


"Even worse," the far-right leader added, "Pedro Sánchez could even be named PM with the support of the communist, coup plotters, or terrorist parties," referring to the Catalan pro-independence parties.