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Far left Spain anti-austerity parties make big gains, hurt ruling and main opposition parties

  • SPAIN_EUEUROPA-ELECCIONES-ESPAÑA_SPANGP106-1.jpg

    El presidente del gobierno español Mariano Rajoy, al centro, raparece rodeado de simpatizantes después de votar para elegir a los representantes españoles en el Parlamento Europeo. Madrid, domingo 25 de mayo de 2014. (AP foto/Gabriel Pecot) (The Associated Press)

  • EUROPA_ELECCIONES_ESPAÑA_SPANGP103-2.jpg

    El presidente del gobiernoe español, Mariano Rajoy (centro) llega para votar en Madrid, España, el 25 de mayo de 2014. Desde Portugal hasta Finlandia, elctores de 21 naciones fueron a las urnas el domingo a decidir la formación del próximo Parlamento europeo. (Foto AP/Gabriel Pecot) (The Associated Press)

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.

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