Madrid: The governing Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) on Monday won the country's general election but not with a majority. 

Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) won 123 seats, defeating both the conservative People’s party (PP), which won 66 seats, the centre-right Citizens party, which won 57. Moreover, the anti-austerity Unidas Podemos and its allies garnered 42, while Vox mananged to secure 24. 

To form the government, Sanchez will need to form an alliance with either left-wing Podemos and regional parties.
Spaniards began voting in an uncertain snap general election on Sunday marked by a resurgence of the far-right after more than four decades on the outer margins of politics. 

Sanchez, who took power in June after ousting conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote, has warned against Spain replicating what happened in Finland's elections two weeks ago.

There, the far-right Finns Party came second, closely tailing the leftist Social Democrats, after polls initially predicted it would end up in the fifth position.

The rise of Vox

By far the novelty of these elections is the emergence of far-right party Vox, which is known to oppose multiculturalism, feminism and unrestricted migration, burst onto the scene in December regional polls in southern Andalusia and looks set to make its first-ever entrance into the national parliament.

"There is a real, true risk," Sanchez said this week, warning that a right-wing government supported by Vox could emerge in Spain after the elections, even if opinion polls say this is unlikely.

Founded by a former member of the conservative Popular Party (PP), with a strong stance against feminism and illegal immigration, Vox has risen thanks to its hard line against separatists in Catalonia.

The region in northeastern Spain was the scene of a secession attempt in 2017 that sparked the country's biggest crisis in decades and caused major concern in Europe. Since then, the crisis has continued to cast a pall over Spanish politics.

Sanchez was forced to call Sunday's early elections after Catalan pro-independence lawmakers in the national parliament, angered at the trial of their leaders in Madrid, refused to give him the support he needed for his 2019 budget.

Right-wing parties have for their part lambasted Sanchez, at the head of a minority government, for his attempts to negotiate with Catalan separatists who still govern the region, accusing him of being a traitor.

With no party expected to get anywhere near an absolute majority in what will be the third elections in three-and-a-half years, Spain's fragmented political landscape looks set to continue.

If, as opinion polls predict, Sanchez wins without a majority, he will have to forge alliances with far-left Podemos -- as he did over the past 10 months -- but also possibly smaller groupings like Catalan separatist parties.

He would rather not have to do that, given right-wing parties' accusations that he cosied up with the "enemies of Spain" during his time in government.

A possible alliance with Ciudadanos has not been ruled out, even if the centre-right party's leader Albert Rivera has made "chasing" the socialists from power a "national urgency." 

"Fragmented Spain votes with great uncertainty," headlined top-selling daily El Pais on its front page on Sunday, while rival daily El Mundo headlined: "Spain votes today on tenterhooks due to the uncertainty".

With inputs from PTI