Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has had his position strengthened by the results of Spain’s elections. It remains uncertain whether the shift will be enough to allow him to keep his position.
The seat changes were:
PSOE (Socialist) : 123 seats, up from 85
People’s Party (Right) : 66 seats, down from 137
Citizens (Center-Right) : 57 seats, up from 32
Podemos (Left) : 42 seats, down from 71
Vox (Nationalist) : 24 seats, up from 0
ERC (Left, Catalan Independence) : 15 seats, up from 9
176 seats are needed to form a coalition government in Spain. The success of the PSOE in this election strengthens their hand, and will almost certainly be enough to secure Sanchez as the Prime Minister.
At issue are the blocs of support. Whereas the PP lost many seats, the majority of them shifted to Citizens or Vox. The PSOE was already in a coalition with Podemos, so the real changes there are merely negotiations as to how much influence Podemos is going to lose in that coalition due to their poor showing.
The event that triggered these elections, though, was the inability to pass a budget. This happened because the left-wing ERC pulled their support from PSOE after PSOE refused to support movement toward Catalan independence.
Following the elections, the PSOE/Podemos coalition has increased its seats from 156 to 165. Those 9 seats may allow the two parties to negotiate with the local parties (which rarely capture more than 2 seats) and reach the 176 required to pass a budget. They will only need to get 11 Parliament members to do so, as opposed to the 20 they previously required, and because of that they may be able to develop a ruling coalition without the aid of ERC. That outcome is plausible, because of the outsized influence any of the small parties would gain in such an arrangement. It is not certain, because of the perceived betrayal of the ERC by the PSOE/Podemos pairing in recent months.
If they cannot, it will fall to the ERC leadership, again, to determine if they will support PSOE/Podemos. If not, another round of elections would be expected in the near future.