The PP wins practically all over Spain with the exception of Catalonia and the Basque Country

The conservative People’s Party (PP) has won the Spanish General Election with an absolute majority. The PP obtained 186 MPs in the 350-seat Spanish Parliament, its best ever result. The Socialist Party (PSOE), who are the current Spanish Government, obtained the worst results in its history, winning just 110 MPs. In Catalonia, another historical change has taken place: the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalists (CiU) have won in the Spanish elections for the first time. The Socialists lose 44% of their MPs in Catalonia, and their main candidate Carme Chacón, is in a bad position to lead the PSOE after Zapatero. The PP continues as Catalonia’s third party, despite an improvement in its results.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

November 21, 2011 02:47 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The conservative People’s Party (PP) has won the Spanish General Elections with an absolute majority of 186 MPs in the new Spanish Parliament. This means that the PP’s candidate, Mariano Rajoy, will become the next Spanish Prime Minister, and will be able to govern with just the support of his party. From his first day in office he will have to deal with a difficult economic situation and pressure from the international financial markets. Rajoy said in his election winning speech that his priorities will be fighting “unemployment, the deficit, the excessive debt and economic stagnation”. The PP has achieved its bests results ever, while the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has obtained its worst results in history, winning only 110 seats, which represents losing 35% of its MPs. The PSOE lost 4.3 million votes. They dropped from 11.3 million votes to almost 7 million. In addition, it has lost in every autonomous community and it only won in two of the 50 provinces: Barcelona and Seville. In almost all the Spanish provinces the People’s Party was victorious, with the exception being in the Basque Country and Catalonia. In Catalonia, the People’s Party remains the third biggest force, despite an improvement in its results, which jumped from 8 MPs to 11. In this autonomous community, the clear winner is the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU), who have won the Spanish Elections for the first time, ending 32 years of Socialist victories. CiU increased its MPs by 60%, while the Catalan Socialist Party –which is part of the PSOE- lost 44% of its seats in Catalonia. A real change has taken place in the political landscape of Catalonia. Besides the first place switch, the distance between the first and second party has reduced from 15 to 2 MPs. Among the two smaller parties with parliamentary representation in Catalonia, the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) passed from 1 MP to 3, and overtook the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) in number of votes. ERC remains unchanged with 3 MPs and stops the trend of losing MPs in each of the last elections.The turnout in Catalonia has been 66.8%, almost 5 percentage points lower than the turnout registered for the whole of Spain (71.6%) and 3.5 points lower than that in 2008.

Looking at the Spanish map after the elections, the colours of the PP dominate except for three areas: the province of Seville, the Basque Country and Catalonia. In Seville, there was almost a tie between the PP and the PSOE, but the latter just pipped past the post. In the three Basque provinces, the PP won in just one; in the two other, the Basque nationalists achieved a victory (the Centre-Right nationalists in Bizkaia, and the Left-Wing and pro-Independence Amaiur in Gipuzkoa). In Catalonia, the PP did not win in any of the provinces, and it is the third party in all of them. During the campaign, several polls indicated that the PP could become the second most voted party in Catalonia, but the results have shown that is far from reality.

CiU wins in Catalonia

However, the Election Day has brought a major surprise: the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU) has overtaken the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) as the traditional winner of the Spanish Elections in Catalonia. CiU has jumped from 10 MPs in 2008 to 16, and has won in three of the four Catalan provinces (Tarragona, Girona and Lleida). Therefore, after having won last May’s municipal elections in Catalonia and last year’s Catalan elections, CiU has become Catalonia’s hegemonic party. CiU won 29.35% of the votes (an increase of almost 9 percentage points), while the PSC got 26.64% of the ballots (a decrease of almost 19 percentage points). Analysts point that, as in the rest of Spain, many Socialists voters stayed at home, since the turnout in Catalonia was 3.5 points lower than that of 2008.

Chacón in a difficult position to lead the PSOE after her defeat in Catalonia

In fact, the PSC leads the Socialist vote haemorrhage throughout Spain, as it is where the Socialists lost most votes in percentage points. It is more dramatic since it was thanks to the MPs from the PSC, that the Socialists won the 2008 elections and subsequently ran the Spanish Government. The PSC fell from 25 MPs in Catalonia to 14, which represents a 44% decrease. The PSC lost around 770,000 votes in Catalonia, dropping from 45.4% of the ballots cast to 26.4%. The PSC’s main candidate, the Spanish Defence Minister Carme Chacón is now in a bad position to lead the PSOE after the retreat of the current Spanish Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero. The PSOE candidate, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, accepted the “clear” defeat and asked Zapatero, who is also the party’s Secretary General to organise a party congress “as soon as possible”. After getting the worst results in PSOE’s history, it does not look likely that Rubalcaba will become the next party leader, although he could pilot a transition period. The same goes for Carme Chacón; after her bad results in Catalonia she seemed ruled out to lead the PSOE after Zapatero.

The PP improves its results in Catalonia but remains the third party

Catalonia has always been a difficult place for the People’s Party. The conservative and Spanish nationalist party is traditionally the third or fourth force in Catalonia, far from winning in Catalonia, which differs greatly to the rest of Spain. Despite the improvement in the last Catalan and municipal elections, and certain polls over the last number of weeks, the PP has not been able to reach a spectacular increase of MPs in Catalonia, although it has gone from 8 to 11 MPs. The PP had hoped to become Catalonia’s second party and to get ahead of CiU. Results show that the main party benefiting from the PSC’s demise in Catalonia has been CiU, and not the PP. Despite not reaching the 12 MPs obtained in the 2000 elections (when José María Aznar won his absolute majority), the PP won an MP in the each one of the four Catalan provinces. In 2008, the province of Girona was the only constituency in Spain where the PP did not win any seat. On Sunday, the PP won that seat back.

ICV-EUiA goes from 1 to 3 MPs

The Catalan Green Socialist Party ‘Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds’ (ICV), which runs in an electoral coalition with the Catalan branch of the Communist ‘Izquierda Unida’ (EUiA), has improved its results, as Izquierda Unida has done throughout Spain. ICV-EUiA has won two more MPs, going from 1 to 3 MPs in the new Spanish Parliament. ICV-EUiA asked for the vote of those angry with how the crisis was being handled.

ERC keeps its 3 MPs

The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party ‘Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya’ (ERC) has maintained its 3 MPs. However, due to its decrease in the number of votes, it has lost its position as the fourth party in Catalonia, to the benefit of ICV-EUiA. Despite losing votes, ERC is satisfied with the results since it stopped the decrease of institutional representation the party has suffered in the last number of years. After a complete renovation in the leadership of the party, ERC has managed to maintain the same number of MPs.