World

New groups to play key role in Spain as local elections deal stinging blow to ruling party

  • People attend a speech by Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Podemos (We Can) party celebrating the party results after the elections and in support of local candidate for Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now) party in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Ahora Madrid stood for the Madrid municipal elections to seek an end nearly four decades of dominance by the conservative Popular Party and the center-left Socialists.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

    People attend a speech by Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Podemos (We Can) party celebrating the party results after the elections and in support of local candidate for Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now) party in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Ahora Madrid stood for the Madrid municipal elections to seek an end nearly four decades of dominance by the conservative Popular Party and the center-left Socialists.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Podemos (We Can) party gives a speech to celebrate the party results after the elections and in support of local candidate for Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now) party in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Ahora Madrid stood for the Madrid municipal elections to seek an end nearly four decades of dominance by the conservative Popular Party and the center-left Socialists.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

    Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Podemos (We Can) party gives a speech to celebrate the party results after the elections and in support of local candidate for Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now) party in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Ahora Madrid stood for the Madrid municipal elections to seek an end nearly four decades of dominance by the conservative Popular Party and the center-left Socialists.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Podemos (We Can) party gives a speech to celebrate the party results after the elections and in support of local candidate for Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now) party in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Ahora Madrid stood for the Madrid municipal elections to seek an end nearly four decades of dominance by the conservative Popular Party and the center-left Socialists.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

    Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Podemos (We Can) party gives a speech to celebrate the party results after the elections and in support of local candidate for Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now) party in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Ahora Madrid stood for the Madrid municipal elections to seek an end nearly four decades of dominance by the conservative Popular Party and the center-left Socialists.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)  (The Associated Press)

Two new parties look set to hold the keys to power in many Spanish cities and regions following local elections that dealt a serious blow to the governing conservative Popular Party.

The Popular Party was the most voted group with 27 percent but it lost the absolute control it had in eight of the 13 regions that held elections Sunday, including in its traditional power centers, Madrid and Valencia.

The leftist We Can group and centrist Citizens party, two organizations that only began operating on a national level last year, finished third and fourth in a result that comes just months ahead of general elections.

We Can leader Pablo Iglesias said Monday the result spelled the end of the two-party system that has dominated Spain for nearly 40 years.