DEBATES have opened in Congress ahead of the presidential investiture ceremony scheduled for Thursday, and left-wing Podemos and the PSOE (socialists) have still to reach an agreement about either governing in coalition...
Sánchez's socialists win European elections; Puigdemont gains two seats
By thinkSPAIN Team Mon, May 27, 2019
ACTING president Pedro Sánchez's PSOE (socialist) party has won the European Parliamentary elections after scooping up one in three of the votes cast yesterday (Sunday) in Spain.
And the pro-independence party Junts ('Together'), led by deposed Catalunya regional president Carles Puigdemont, has acquired two seats – the second being for Toni Comí, one of the four ministers who fled to Belgium along with their leader to avoid arrest after the region's disputed independence referendum on October 1, 2017.
The coalition Ahora Repúblicas ('Republics Now') – a combination of the Catalunya Left Republicans (ERC), the Basque reunification party EH Bildu, and the Galicia national party BNG – has won three seats, the top one of which goes to Puigdemont's former deputy president Oriol Junqueras.
In total, Junts and Ahora Repúblicas gained 4.58% and 5.62% of the votes, although Junts was the outright victor in Catalunya with 28.52% of the votes, ahead of Ahora Repúblicas, with 21.18%.
The Catalunya socialists, PSC, were the second-most voted in the north-eastern region with 22.13% of the votes.
CEUS-Izaskun Bilbao, a coalition that includes the Basque National Party (PNV), gained one seat, but the left-wing Valencia regional independents Compromís came away with no representation.
Compromís, however, won the Valencia city council elections, and Joan Ribó – famous for making his grand entrance in May 2015 by bicycle rather than chauffeur-driven car – is back in the hotseat for another term.
Pedro Sánchez's (pictured) gamble in calling an early general election on April 28 appears to have paid off: seeking to secure a mandate from the population after a no-confidence vote against the right-wing PP in June 2018 gave him Spain's weakest-ever government, with 85 seats out of 351, the PSOE not only upped its stakehold in national Parliament to 123 seats but has also netted 32.84% of votes in the European Parliamentary elections.
This translates to 20 seats in the Hemicycle in Strasbourg, with Josep Borrell – currently foreign affairs minister – having headed up the candidate list.
The PP, which did not fare well in the 2014 European elections, made even less of an impact this time, with 12 seats and 20.13% of the votes.
Ciudadanos, the centre-right party which burst onto the scene in 2014 and is now Spain's third-largest political force, won seven seats through 12.17% of the votes, whilst the United Left-Podemos coalition gained six, through 10.05% of the votes.
Pro-animal party PACMA took 1.31% of Spain's votes, but was left without a seat, although far-right Vox, with 6.2% of the votes, earned three seats.
In Europe, the PP forms part of the European People's Party (EPP); the PSOE is on the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D); the Basque National Party and Ciudadanos are within the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE); the Podemos-United Left coalition has five seats within the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL) and one seat on the Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA), where the ERC-EH Bildu-BNG coalition holds three seats.
Vox and Junts do not form part of any European political group.
Spain has voted for 54 of European Parliament's 751 seats, although if Brexit goes ahead as scheduled on October 31 this year, the total number of seats in the Hemicycle will go down to 705 and Spain will gain another five, which will be split between the PSOE, PP, Ciudadanos, Vox and Ahora Repúblicas.
European Parliament organises its parties into groups, not countries, meaning different political outfits are normally made up of representatives of several member States.
The EPP and S&D are the biggest parties – the former of which includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats – whilst others which do not appear in Spain's results this time around are the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) and the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF).
In the UK, the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage earned 31.7% of the votes and 28 seats out of the country's 64 and Eurosceptics UKIP gained 3.6% of the votes, but did not gain any seats.
Pro-Remain party Change UK and Scottish National Party SNP did not gain any seats, although they took 3.4% and 3.6% of the votes, respectively, whilst pro-Remain Welsh national party Plaid Cymru earned one seat, with 1% of the votes.
Despite the Brexit Party's sweeping victory, the highest number of UK seats went to left-leaning parties: Liberal Democrats, who are outspokenly against Brexit and campaigning hard to prevent it, were the second-most voted with 20.3% of ballots and 15 seats, followed by Labour with 10 seats and 14.1% of the votes and the Greens with seven seats and 12.1% of the votes.
The Conservatives, currently in limbo at national level with its leader and prime minister Theresa May's having announced her resignation two days before the European elections, obtained their worst result in the history of the EU with just three seats and 9.1% of the votes.
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