The election was called around 22.30 last night.
The Socialists won again, although the PP gained a few seats in Congress. Abstention was 24.68% compared to 2004 when it was 24.34%, so overall voter turnout was high (as I said in the previous entry, the 2004 election was atypical).
Some interesting data points:
Abstention in the Basque Country reached 35.10% almost 10 points higher than 2004. The reason this is important is that the parties that don't condemn the terrorist group ETA were illegalized. Since they couldn't be on the ballot, they asked their supporters to abstain. Now, they're going to claim all of the abstention to their side, which is blatant exaggeration. But, obviously, this 10% increase is bad news.
The Socialists didn't get absolute majority which means they're going to need help to govern. After such a hard campaign, I doubt they can agree with the PP on anything, so the smaller nationalist parties are once again going to play a role. We'll have to wait and see what kind of alliances spring up from the election and what kind of concessions will come from that.
Votes in Spain are calibrated by region. This is something that was put in the Constitution of 1978 to give the smaller nations that are integrated in Spain some additional power. At this point in History, I think maintaining this system is a mistake. Andalucia is way poorer than Cataluña. Their votes should at least count the same.
As a result of this you have several small nationalist parties who will be fundamental in governing for the next four years, while IU, with 4% of the vote, gets less than 1% of the seats in Congress. Same thing for Rosa Diaz, whose party, UPyD was the fifth group in number of votes but will only have one seat in Congress.
Speaking of Rosa Diaz and UPyD. She funded this party less than 6 months ago and she's done surprisingly well in the elections. I'm happy to see some fresh blood in what is looking like an increasingly bipartisan political scene. It looks like her party is taking a centralist and anti-nationalist stance. It won't work, and I don't agree, but I'm glad some new ideas are being thrown in there. They're also in favour of limiting mandates. With Chaves (Socialist) having been in power in Andalucia for a quarter of a century, this certainly seems to make sense.
Well, that's it for now.