Spain right wins EU vote, slightly ahead of PM's Socialists

Feijoo said voters had put Spain 'on the cusp of a new political cycle' (OSCAR DEL POZO)
Feijoo said voters had put Spain 'on the cusp of a new political cycle' (OSCAR DEL POZO)

Spain's right-wing Popular Party (PP) won Sunday's EU vote in the country, beating Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialists as a new far-right party made a strong debut, official results showed.

With almost all ballots counted, the opposition PP won 22 seats with 34.2 percent of the votes, ahead of the Socialist Party which secured 20 seats after securing 30.2 percent.

During the last European polls in 2019, the Socialists came first with a strong lead, taking 21 seats compared with 13 for the PP.

In his victory speech, PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo said voters had handed them the victory they were waiting for, with "700,000 more votes than the Socialist Party" putting Spain "on the cusp of a new political cycle".

Teresa Ribera, who led the Socialist list, acknowledged the PP's victory but said it was far from definitive.

"If (Feijoo) considered these elections to be a referendum on the prime minister, it's clear he himself lost. We're only two seats behind," she said.

Sunday's vote also saw the far right make a strong showing. Vox came third with six seats, or 9.6 percent of the votes, up from four seats in 2019.

- New far-right party -

And the big surprise was "Se Acabo la Fiesta" (SALF) -- Spanish for "The Party's Over" -- a new far-right faction founded by controversial YouTuber Luis 'Alvise' Perez. It won 4.6 percent of the vote, meaning it will enter the European Parliament with three seats.

Addressing his jubilant supporters, Perez gave a rousing anti-migrant speech claiming that Spain "is a country where tomatoes need more papers to leave than illegal immigrants need to come in".

Sunday's vote came almost a year after Spain held an inconclusive national election.

Although the PP came first, it didn't have the parliamentary support to form a government, leaving the way open for Sanchez. He mustered a majority with the backing of far-left and regional parties, including the Catalan separatists.

Campaigning ahead of the European election has been marred by allegations against Sanchez's wife. A court opened a preliminary graft probe and on Monday said it would summon her to testify early next month.

The right-wing opposition has demanded the prime minister resign, but Sanchez has insisted that the probe is groundless and little more than a political attempt to unseat him.

The investigation was launched following a complaint filed by a group linked to the far right.