Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he will push forward with negotiations to try to form a coalition government, after the Dec. 20 election gave his Popular Party the most votes but left it far short of a parliamentary majority.

Rajoy said Tuesday that Spain's best option is a lower house of parliament controlled by a majority that can easily pass important legislation.

Rajoy says he opposes any alliance with the far-left Podemos party because it wants to let voters in the Catalonia region decide if they want to secede from Spain.

The Popular Party won 123 seats in the 350-member lower house of parliament — down from the 186 it got in 2011.

The Socialists won 90 seats, followed by Podemos and allies with 69 and Ciudadanos with 40.