Spain votes in parliamentary election

Spaniards voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election in which the anti-austerity party Podemos is expected to make big gains, potentially delivering a fresh jolt to Europe’s political mainstream after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

The last election, in December, broke the mold of 40 years of stable conservative or Socialist majorities and failed to produce a government, as upstart parties channeled growing resentment of the establishment following an economic crisis and a series of corruption scandals.

Turnout was 36.9 percent at 1200 GMT, the same reading as in December at the same time.

Opinion polls suggest the parliament that emerges this time will be just as fragmented as the previous one. Four big parties and six smaller regional ones are likely to win seats in the 350-strong assembly, none of them coming close to a majority.

The center-right People’s Party (PP) looks set to be the biggest party again, with around 120 seats. But its natural coalition partner, the liberal Ciudadanos (“Citizens”), appears likely to win only about 40 seats, leaving them well short of the 176 needed for a majority.

In theory, the rise of Unidos Podemos (“Together We Can”), a leftist alliance led by Podemos, could offer a way out. The 90 seats it is expected to win, combined with around 80 for the Socialist Party (PSOE), would be close to a majority.

Support from some of the regional parties could enable them to form a government.