Popular Party to keep Galicia following a low-turnout race
PNV wins in Basque Country but without absolute majority
EH Bildu becomes second force in region
Galicia premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo of Popular Party (PP) won re-election on Sunday night in regional elections that saw one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent years. With over 68 percent of the votes counted, the PP was on course to win 41 of 75 seats in the Galician parliament, with the Socialists well behind on 18.
Electoral participation in the Basque Country was also low and with over 98 percent of ballots accounted for the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) was on course to win 27 seats in the 75-member assembly. The EH Bildu coalition was poised to win 21 seats, making it the second-largest political force in the region. The Socialists, which governed the Basque Country after the 2009 elections due to a partnership with the PP, was expected to get 16 seats while the PP was slated to win 10.
The Bildu formation, which had been challenged by the Interior Ministry on suspicions that it was a front for ETA, was legalized early this year by the Constitutional Court.
The partnership government in the Basque Country between the Socialists and the PP, formed in 2009, fell apart early this year when the PSE administration of Patxi López was unable to muster support from his conservative partners to pass the 2012 budget.
But the clearest winner was the PP in Galicia, where Spain’s ruling party was expected to obtain even more seats than the 38 it won in the 2009 race.
The victory in Galicia is positive news for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has come under fire nationwide for his painful austerity measures. Even though the PP had been confident that it would keep Galicia, some in the party feared that they would lose seats in this race. Voter turnout was low in both regional elections, with Galicia reporting some 42.49 percent participation at 5pm compared to 49.34 percent in 2009.
In the Basque Country, turnout as of 5pm was 1.22 points below that of the last election in 2009. Provinces were reporting their own figures on participation, including Álava, where 45 percent of eligible voters went to the polls by 5pm. Bizkaia reported 47.9 percent, while in Gipuzkoa there was 47 percent turnout at 5pm.
Socialist official Oscar López said it was “very troubling” for all parties that fewer people were taking interest in the races. Basque Country interior commissioner Raúl Fernández blamed the poor showings on the bad weather. In both regions more people came out to vote as the day progressed.
At 12 noon, just 12.4 percent of eligible voters had been to the polls in Galicia, while only 14.8 percent had cast their ballots in the Basque Country.