MADRID (Reuters) – Voting started on Sunday in Spain’s most divisive and open-ended election in decades, set to result in a fragmented parliament in which the far-right will get a sizeable presence for the first time since the country’s return to democracy.
After a tense campaign dominated by issues such as national identity and gender equality, the likelihood that any coalition deal will take weeks or months to be brokered will feed into a broader mood of political uncertainty across Europe.
At least five parties from across the political spectrum have a chance of being in government and they could struggle to agree on a deal between them, meaning a repeat election is one of several possible outcomes.
A few things are clear, however, based on opinion polls and conversations with party insiders. No single party will get a majority; the Socialist party of outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is leading the race; and there will be lawmakers from the far-right Vox party.
Beyond that, the result is too close to call.