The Latest: Rajoy demands 'right to govern' after election

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Posted: Jun 26, 2016 6:44 PM
The Latest: Rajoy demands 'right to govern' after election

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on Spain's national election (all times local):

12:30 a.m.

Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Popular Party and Spain's incumbent prime minister, says he demands "the right to govern," even though his general election win left him short of a majority in Parliament.

With 99.8 percent of the votes counted in Sunday's balloting, the conservative Popular Party had 137 seats in the 350-seat Spanish Parliament — well shy of the 176 seats Rajoy needs to govern alone.

That means he has to find allies who will vote in favor of him taking power.

The ballot Sunday was an unprecedented repeat election, after last December's vote left no single party with a majority. After six months of negotiations, no party had enough support to take power.

Rajoy said in a victory speech to supporters In Madrid late Sunday, "We won the election, and we demand the right to govern."

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11:45 p.m.

The leader of Spain's center-left Socialists, Pedro Sanchez, says his party's second place finish in Sunday's general election shows that "we are the foremost political power on the left."

The Socialists lost the election, as the Popular Party came in first by winning 137 seats in Parliament compared with 85 seats for the Socialists

But there was some comfort for Sanchez because he fended off a challenge from a radical leftist alliance that had been expected to overtake the Socialists.

Unidos Podemos (United We Can) — which brings together Podemos, a two-year-old party that grew out of a grassroots protest movement, and communists and greens — came in third with 71 seats.

"We had expected to do better," said Pablo Iglesias, a pony-tailed political science professor who leads Unidos Podemos.

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10:55 p.m.

Spain's Interior Ministry says 92 percent of the votes have been officially counted in the country's repeat election and the conservative Popular Party leads with 32 percent of the vote.

That means the Popular Party has at least 136 seats in the 350-seat Parliament, but not a majority of 176 seats it needs to form a government on its own.

The ministry says the center-left Socialist Party is in second place with 23 percent of the vote and 86 seats.

The Popular Party, led by incumbent prime minister Mariano Rajoy, governed from 2011 to 2015 and is trying to be re-elected. An election last December didn't give any single party a majority. Six months of negotiations between the parties failed to produce a government, forcing Sunday's new ballot.

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8 p.m.

An exit poll in Spain's general election indicates the conservative Popular Party has collected most votes but won't have enough seats in Parliament to form a government on its own.

The poll by public broadcaster Radiotelevision Espanola gave the incumbent Popular Party 28.5 percent of the vote in Sunday's ballot and says a new leftist alliance called Unidos Podemos (United We Can) came in second with 25.6 percent.

The center-left Socialists were third with 22 percent, followed by the moderate, business-friendly Ciudadanos with 11.8 percent. The poll did not provide a margin of error nor exactly how its projections were made.

Sunday's election aimed to break six months of political deadlock after an inconclusive December ballot left the country without an elected government.

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9 a.m.

Spaniards headed to the polls Sunday for an unprecedented repeat election that aimed to break six months of political deadlock after a December ballot left the country without an elected government.

Public anger at high unemployment, cuts in government spending on cherished services such as welfare and education and unrelenting political corruption scandals have shaped the two-week election campaign.

Opinion polls in recent weeks have unanimously predicted that the new ballot will also fail to deliver enough votes for any one party to take power alone. That would likely consign Spain to more protracted political negotiations - and possibly even another election.

The most recent polls suggest the conservative Popular Party will win most votes Sunday but will again fall short of the parliamentary majority it had from 2011 to 2015. Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy is hoping to be re-elected as prime minister.