EU’s Juncker hopes for ‘stable’ Spanish government

European-Commission-President-Jean-Claude-JunckerThe EU hopes Spain will form a stable government after elections in which conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy lost his absolute majority to leftist parties, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Monday.

“I take note of the results of the results and the expression of the Spanish voters,” Juncker told reporters in Brussels. “It is now up to the Spanish authorities to see how they can form a stable government that can fully play its role in Europe.”

Juncker had sent a letter of congratulations to Rajoy for having gained the largest number of parliamentary seats, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said separately.

“Despite all the difficulties we have high hopes that a stable government can be formed that can work in close cooperation with the European institutions and its EU partners,” Andreeva told a news briefing.

Unpopular EU-backed austerity measures under Rajoy’s Popular Party saw it lose seats, with the Socialists in second place.

But perhaps the biggest change was the apparent end of decades of two-party politics in Spain with the strong showing of relative newcomers, the far-left Podemos and centre-right Ciudadanos, in third and fourth place.

While it took the largest share of the vote, the Popular Party lost its absolute majority and will have to form an alliance with other parties to lead the country, attempt to rule as a minority government — or leave office altogether.

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