Spain's Socialists claim election victory

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 29, 2019 - Duration: 02:06s

Spain's Socialists claim election victory

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez looks set to regain power after his Socialists overcome a historic challenge by right-wing nationalists in the polls.

Eve Johnson reports.

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Spain's Socialists claim election victory

Victory for Spain's Socialist Party on Sunday (April 28).

Results from the most hotly-contested election in decades look set to put Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez back in power.

His ruling party overcame a historic challenge by right-wing nationalists.

Most votes have already been counted.

Results show the Socialists won a near 50% bump in seats in parliament.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SOCIALIST PARTY LEADER PEDRO SANCHEZ, SAYING: "The Socialist party has won the general election, and with that the future has won, and the past has lost." It was Spain's third general election in four years.

However, voters turned out in near-record numbers.

The race grabbed attention even beyond Spain's borders, partly over the rise of Vox.

This ultra-nationalist party is only five years old, but has come up fast tracking a wave of anti-immigration sentiment across Europe.

It's fed on resentment against the Catalan independence movement.

But also campaigned on promises to repeal a law that protects women from violent partners - saying it discriminates against men - and called for shutting down "fundamentalist" mosques.

Vox won 24 seats, short of expectations but still a breakthrough.

It's the first far-right party to win more than one seat in parliament since the country returned to democracy in the late 1970s (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VOX PARTY LEADER SANTIAGO ABASCAL SAYING: "This is just the beginning.

We told you we were going to conquer again, and that's what we've done.

Vox is here to stay." The Socialists may have won, but they're faced with a new challenge.

They are far short of a majority with 123 of 350 seats in parliament.

So they'll need partners to form a government, and that may include the support of Catalan separatist lawmakers.

Catalonia is the country's richest region where a push for independence flared into violence two years ago.

Experts say making a deal is going to be complicated and unlikely to happen before elections for Europe's parliament at the end of May.

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