Earlier this week, Spain went to the polls to elect a new parliament. The results, to say the least, are inconclusive.
123 - PP
90 - PSOE
69 - P
40 - C's
28 - Others
Neither the "right" nor "left" coalitions can obtain a majority. In fact, there are only 3 realistic options going forward.
1 - Minority
It seems likely this will be what happens, PP will govern without a majority. PP has a Senate majority; though the Senate in Spain is pretty toothless.
2 - Grand Coalition
This would see PP and PSOE. The problem here is PSOE. Each of the provinces (much much weaker compared to our provinces) has it's own local branch of the party. It's leaders are known as "Barons". The Party Barons are not very happy with how the national party is being run, and many of them are just waiting for the party to try to form a grand coalition so they can pounce and take the party over. For this reason, such a coalition is unlikely.
3 - Large Coalition
Given how many various combinations have been ruled out; the only other coalition that is truly possible, PSOE, with P and C's. There are clear problems here, not the least of which is that such a coalition would be extremely unstable. In addition, P is very friendly towards regionalists, and about a third of their seats actually belong to regional sister parties. As such, any coalition with P has the potential to fracture in any coalition. Not to mention that C's has ruled out being the Jr partner in any coalition, something difficult to not do in a 3 party coalition where they make up only 1/5th of the seats.
Hence, it's likely that we are looking at a minority, with PP looking to other parties on an issue by issue basis.
This means another election in 2016. Avoiding one would require some sort of deal (short of a coalition) between PP and PSOE. This is possible, but not a guarantee.
So what's possible in a 2016 election?
PP could lose more support in such an election; especially among those who had hoped they could lead a government. C's is the most likely benefactor of such a move. This would see voters move from a PP they thought could be in government; a party that is too reviled to truly be in a government, into votes for C's, a party that might make it in government.
PSOE is also in danger of losing support, but this time, to P. While the recent corruption scandal has focused mostly on PP, PSOE has faced it's own corruption problems in the past. It is logical that voters would move away from PSOE to P in order to protest corruption.
P has the most to gain from a new election. Not only could they gain PSOE voters, but so long as they are not stupid during this parliamentary term, this is quite possible. In fact, they could also gain more votes from C's, which I will examine in the next section. P could easily become the largest party, and while we are still far from a majority, giving the party a dozen or two extra seats would certainly make a huge difference.
C's has the most to lose. As the 4th placed party, voters may decide that C's can not win, and hence, switch to other options. C's and P actually share voters; despite how far left P is. This is because both are the "new" parties, Unless C's can convince voters they are useful - despite doing poorly, they are in real danger. The "best" hope for C's is that both old parties fall into decline, and that the total of P and C's seats, combined, is a majority.
Regardless, the election has not provided much of an answer to the question of what is next. We will have to keep our eyes on things to see where they go from here.