MADRID – Two leftist Spanish parties opposed to the nation's deep austerity cuts have made big gains in the European Parliament elections, dealing a blow to the ruling center-right Popular Party and the main opposition center-left Socialist Party.
Preliminary results from the Interior Ministry gave the United Left and We Can parties 11 of the country's 54 parliamentary seats. The Popular Party took 16 and the Socialists won 14 — far fewer than predicted.
The vote Sunday demonstrated that Spain's political system has fragmented since the Popular Party won national elections in late 2011 with an absolute majority in the national Parliament.
Many Spaniards blame the Socialists for sending Spain into economic crisis but are angry with the Popular Party for invoking unpopular tax hikes and cuts to cherished government programs.