Not varying much from what polls showed before the March 9 general elections, the Socialists (PSOE) led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero have got the nod from voters to rule for another four years. With 99.99% of the votes counted, the PSOE won 169 deputies (164 in 2004) versus 153 deputies (148) by the opposition Popular Party led by Mariano Zapatero.
The PSOE would have needed 176 deputies to get a majority in congress, which has a total of 350 seats.
Of the total votes, the PSOE got 11.064 million (43.64%) while the PP got 10.169 million (40.11%). A total of 25.514 million voted, or 75.32% of Spain’s total eligible voters.The biggest losers of the elections were the left-wing Izquierda Unida (IU), which lost 3 deputies to end at 2, and Esquerra Republicana of Catalonia, down 8 deputies to 3.
So what do these elections signal? They show that Spain’s two biggest parties, the PSOE and PP, will continue to dominate the country’s politics.
Considering that the PP won 5 more seats versus 2004, the election allows Rajoy to remain as head of the party. The PSOE won 5 seats. The gains were attributable mainly to losses suffered by the IU and Esquerra Republicana, the biggest losers of the election.
As the fanfare dies, business will return to normal pretty rapidly in Spain. Even though the Socialists won the elections, the following four years will be very challenging, especially on the economic front. Spain is being hit hard by the subprime crisis and slower economic growth.
The next elections in 2012 may prove a very different story for the PSOE, which the PP will certainly try their hardest to discredit the Socialists as they attempt to minimize the damage due to the economic downturn.
Spain’s Prime Minister Rodríguez Zapatero said that in the beginning of his victory speech that he hoped that Spaniards killed by ETA terrorists like Isaías Carrasco of Mondragón in the Basque Country.