Spain shifts left with high support for Podemos

To govern in Barcelona; with PSOE in Madrid, Valencia

25 May, 17:09

    Leader of Spanish political party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, Leader of Spanish political party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias,

        MADRID - Spanish voters opted Sunday to put their trust in the anti-establishment party Podemos, handing it a win in Barcelona and giving it enough support in Madrid, Valencia and Zaragoza that it will likely be in an alliance with the Socialists (PSOE). A plunge in support for Prime Minister Rajoy's Popular Party (PP) was seen, dropping by 11% and 2.6 voters since 2011.

    It nonetheless remains the top party in the country with 27%. It marks ''the beginning of the end of the two-party system'', Podemos leader Pable Iglesias said last night.

    For the first time in the country's history, the votes received by PP and the PSOE accounted for only half of voters, now competing against the movements Podemos and Ciudadanos and in Valencia the local Compromis, which came in second. In Barcelona, the head of 'Barcelona en Comu' created around Podemos, Ada Colau, is almost certain to become the first female mayor in the Catalan capital, in alliance with the Republican left, the Socialists and possibly Ciudadanos.

    In Madrid, which has been a PP stronghold for 24 years, former judge Manuela Carmena - who came in one vote behind PP candidate Esperanza Aguirre - is expected to form the new Madrid city government with the Socialists, who Podemos got more votes than. Alliances between the 'alternative' parties and the Socialists are expected to govern the other two large cities in the country, Zaragoza and Valencia, another PP stronghold. Despite coming in first, the PP will be handing over six regions to coalitions between the Socialists and Podemos. The PP will instead hang onto the Madrid region with Cristina Cifuentes, if it gets Ciudadanos's support. Since last night, there have been practically no absolute majorities in a heavily fragmented political scene. PSOE leader Pedro Gomez has announced that he will begin talks on Monday with Podemos and Ciudadanos. The leaders of the two 'new' parties, Pablo Iglesias and Albert Rivera, said over the night that they would be challenging Rajoy in the November elections. ''We will take on the challenge of winning the general elections against the PP,'' Rivera said. ''The end of the two-party system in Spain has begun.''

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