With 99.9% of the vote counted, the Socialist Party (PSOE) has won 123 seats and Unidas Podemos (UP) – the left-wing alliance between Podemos and United Left (IU) – has taken 42 at the general election on Sunday. Together, these two parties account for 165 seats, which is below the 176 needed for an absolute majority. This means Sánchez will need the support of other parties if he is to be sworn in as prime minister.
The right-wing bloc has also fallen short of an absolute majority. The conservative Popular Party (PP) won just 66, the center-right party Ciudadanos (Citizens) took 57 and the far-right party Vox won 24 seats in its debut national election. Together, the three parties account for 147 seats.
Given that neither bloc has an absolute majority, what deals could be done to form a government?
1. PSOE and Ciudadanos. If the PSOE and Ciudadanos joined forces, they would account for 179 seats, three more than the 176 needed for an absolute majority. However, this option is not yet on the table. During the campaign, Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera insisted that he would never make deals with the Socialist government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, a position that would keep them out of government. Within PSOE there is also opposition to a pact with Ciudadanos. After the election results were announced, supporters of the party yelled: “Not with Rivera! Not with Rivera!” outside PSOE headquarters in Madrid. A smiling Sánchez replied: “I think that’s pretty clear.”
2. Without pro-independence parties. Another option is for Sánchez to reach an agreement with Unidas Podemos, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) which has six seats, the Canaries Coalition (CC-PNC) which has two, the Compromís party from Valencia and the Cantabria Regional Party (PRC), which have one each. In this case, Sánchez would have the support of 175 deputies but would still need at least one abstention to be reinstated on the second vote, where only a simple majority is required.
3. With pro-independence parties. The sum of PSOE (123), Unidas Podemos (42), PNV (6), CCA-PMC (2), Compromís (1), the pro-Catalan independence parties Catalan Republic Left (ERC) with 15 seats and Junts Per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) with seven seats, as well as the Basque far-left party EH Bildu, which won four seats, comes to 199 seats. This option for a government coalition is very unlikely, given that Sánchez has enough votes to lead a minority government. However, this agreement could be made to swear Sánchez in as prime minister in the first investiture vote where an absolute majority is required. It is the same combination that supported the no-confidence motion to oust former prime minister Mariano Rajoy (PP) from office.
4. PSOE and Unidas Podemos. A pact between PSOE and Unidas Podemos is 11 seats short of an absolute majority, meaning they would still need the support of other parties to get Sánchez voted back into office.
5. PP, Ciudadanos, Vox and Navarra Suma. The combination of PP (66), Ciudadanos (57), Vox (24) and Navarra Suma (UPN), which is a coalition of the PP, Ciudadanos and Navarrese People’s Union, adds up to 149 seats, 27 seats short of an absolute majority.
6. PP, Ciudadanos and Navarra Suma. An alliance between the PP and Ciudadanos has no possibility of forming a government without the far-right party Vox. Without Vox, they have 123 votes, the same number won by PSOE. Even with the support of Navarra Suma, the parties would only have 125 seats.
English version by Melissa Kitson.