Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was the winner in the European Parliament elections on Sunday with his ruling Socialists party (PSOE) coming first.
With over 95% of the votes counted, the Spanish government’s spokeswoman Isabel Celaa announced the PSOE had come first with close to 33%, followed by the right-wing People’s Party (PP) which won just over 20%.
The PSOE party are expected to finally win up to 20 seats, six seats more than in the 2014 European election, and a share equivalent to more than 4% points above the 28 April General Election.
The PP, still reeling from the dismal results on 28 April, will come in second place with 20% of the vote and 12 seats, four less from 2014.
The right-wing vote was split by the Ciudadanos (Cs) party, who will win 7 seats and the new far-right Vox party, who will enter the EU parliament for the first time with 3 seats. Podemos will win 6 seats, only one more than in the last election.
Meanwhile, former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is living in exile in Belgium, has been elected as an MEP, as has his former deputy Oriol Junqueras, currently in custody whilst on trial with 11 others for the Catalan independence referendum in 2017.
Europeans headed to the polls in their tens of millions on Sunday to vote in a looming battle between the nationalist right and pro-EU forces to chart a course for the union.
Early turnout in many countries was higher than it had been five years ago, but it was not immediately clear if this was good news for the populists or for those mobilising to oppose them.
‘I guess that some marginal parties will be less marginal tonight,’ the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said as he cast his vote in Luxembourg.
Madrid and Barcelona
Meanwhile, in Madrid and Barcelona, the results indicated that it would be all change at the city halls, with both Manuela Carmena (Madrid) and Ada Colau (Barcelona) losing their posts of city mayor.
In Barcelona, with 90% of the votes counted, Ernest Maragall has overcome incumbent mayor Ada Colau in a ‘technical draw’ that came down to a difference of just 4,000 votes.
Maragall’s pro-independence Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party and Colau’s left-wing BComú party won 10 seats each, but with the former doubling the number of seats and winning by a nose.
It is the first time in 80 years that the ERC party is in power in Barcelona.
However, as the results began to come in, the scenario looked very different, with the Socialists (PSC) Jaume Collboni on top at first, and then Colau, before Maragall rallied late on.
The pro-independence candidate will now replace Colau as mayor of the Catalan capital,unless the parties come to an alternative arrangement.
After leading the pack, the Socialists ended up with 8 seats, four more than before, with the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) ending up with 5 seats (five less).
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