Spanish general election, 2016
| Most voted party by autonomous community and province.
The 2016 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 26 June 2016, to elect the 12th Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 208 of 266 seats in the Senate.
No party had secured a majority in the 2015 election, resulting in the most fragmented parliament since 1977. Ensuing negotiations failed to produce a stable governing coalition, paving the way for a repeat election on 26 June. The political deadlock marked the first time that a Spanish election was triggered due to failure in the government formation process. Ahead of the election, Podemos and United Left (IU) joined forces to form the Unidos Podemos alliance, along with several other minor left-wing parties. Opinion polling going into the election predicted a growing polarisation between this alliance and the People's Party (PP), which would be fighting to maintain first place nationally.
In the end, the alliance suffered a surprise decline in votes and vote share compared to the previous election, while the PP increased its number of votes and seats. The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), while clinging on to second place, kept losing votes and seats and scored a new historical low. Albert Rivera's Citizens (C's) suffered from the electoral system and fell to 32 seats. Voter turnout was the lowest since the transition to democracy in 1975, as just 66.5% of the electorate cast a ballot. Overall, a potential PP–C's bloc secured 6 more seats than before, but remained short of an overall majority. With the political deadlock settling in, commentators suggested that a new, third election could be eventually needed.
On 29 October, after a 10-month political deadlock, Mariano Rajoy was able to become Prime Minister thanks to PSOE's abstention, after the party suffered an internal crisis which resulted in the ouster of its leader, Pedro Sánchez.
This bicameral system is regarded as asymmetric, because while legislative initiative belongs to both chambers (as well as to the Government), the Congress of Deputies has greater legislative power than the Senate, and can also override most Senate initiatives by an absolute majority of votes. In addition, only Congress can grant confidence to the Prime Minister, or withdraw that confidence. The Senate does possess a few exclusive functions which cannot be overridden by Congress, but these are limited.
Established customary practice has been to dissolve and re-elect both chambers at the same time, thus triggering a "general" election. Article 115 of the Spanish Constitution allows, however, for each chamber to be elected separately. The electoral system in Spain is on the basis of universal suffrage in a secret ballot.
- Congress of Deputies
For the Congress of Deputies, 348 members are elected in 50 multi-member districts using the D'Hondt method and closed-list proportional representation for four-year terms. In addition, Ceuta and Melilla elect one member each using plurality voting. Each district is entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 seats being allocated among the 50 provinces in proportion to their populations. Only lists polling above 3% of the total vote in each district (which includes blank ballots, for none of the above) are included in the distribution of seats. However, in most districts there is a higher effective threshold at constituency level, depending on the district magnitude.
For the 2016 election, seats will be distributed as follows:
|36 × 1 = 36||Madrid|
|31 × 1 = 31||Barcelona|
|16 × 1 = 16||Valencia(+1)|
|12 × 2 = 24||Alicante and Seville|
|11 × 1 = 11||Málaga|
|10 × 1 = 10||Murcia|
|9 × 1 = 9||Cádiz|
|8 × 5 = 40||A Coruña, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Las Palmas and Biscay|
|7 × 4 = 28||Granada, Pontevedra, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Zaragoza|
|6 × 7 = 42||Almería, Badajoz, Córdoba, Girona, Gipuzkoa, Tarragona and Toledo|
|5 × 7 = 35||Cantabria, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Huelva, Jaén, Navarre and Valladolid|
|4 × 10 = 40|| Álava, Albacete, Burgos, Cáceres, León(–1), Lleida, Lugo, Ourense, La Rioja|
|3 × 8 = 24||Ávila, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Huesca, Palencia, Segovia, Teruel and Zamora|
|2 × 1 = 2||Soria|
|1 × 2 = 2||Ceuta and Melilla|
|= 350||Total seats|
For the Senate, each of the 47 peninsular districts (the provinces) is assigned four seats. For the insular provinces, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, districts are the islands themselves, with the larger (Mallorca, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife) being assigned three seats each, and the smaller (Menorca, Ibiza-Formentera, Fuerteventura, Gomera, Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma) one each. Ceuta and Melilla are assigned two seats each, for a total of 208 directly elected seats. The system used is that of limited voting. Electors may vote for up to: three candidates in four-seat districts; two candidates in two- or three-seat districts; or one candidate in single-member constituencies. Electors vote for individual candidates; those attaining the largest number of votes in each district are elected for four-year terms.
In addition, the legislative assemblies of the autonomous communities are entitled to appoint at least one senator each, and one senator for every million inhabitants, adding a variable number of appointed seats to the 208 directly-elected senators. This appointment usually does not take place at the same time as the general election, but after the autonomous communities hold their respective elections.
Dual membership of both chambers of the Cortes or of the Cortes and regional assemblies is prohibited, meaning that candidates must resign from regional assemblies if elected. Active judges, magistrates, ombudsmen, serving military personnel, active police officers and members of constitutional and electoral tribunals are also ineligible, as well as CEOs or equivalent leaders of state monopolies and public bodies, such as the Spanish state broadcaster RTVE. Additionally, under the Political Parties Law of June 2002, parties and individual candidates may be prevented from standing by the Spanish Supreme Court if they are judicially perceived to discriminate against people on the basis of ideology, religion, beliefs, nationality, race, gender or sexual orientation, foment or organise violence as a means of achieving political objectives or support or praise the actions of "terrorist organisations".
Following changes to the electoral law which took effect for the 2007 municipal elections, candidate lists must be composed of at least 40% candidates of each gender, and each group of five candidates must contain at least two males and two females.
Parties and coalitions of parties which have registered with the Electoral Commission can present lists of candidates. Groups of electors who have not registered with the Commission can also present lists, provided that they obtain the signatures of 1% of registered electors in a particular district. Since 30 January 2011, political parties without representation in either of the Chambers in the previous general election are required to obtain the signatures of 0.1% of registered electors in the districts where they intend to stand to present lists for those districts.
The 2015 election resulted in the most fragmented Congress of Deputies in recent times. This raised the possibility that, for the first time since the Spanish transition to democracy, parliamentary deadlock over the investiture of a Prime Minister would require a new election to be held. According to Article 99.5 of the Spanish Constitution, "if within a period of two months from the first investiture vote no candidate has obtained the confidence of Congress, the King shall dissolve both chambers and call a new election, with the endorsement of the Congress President."
A crisis developed within the PSOE after the December election result, with critics accusing Secretary-General Pedro Sánchez of lack of self-criticism ahead of PSOE's spring leadership election. While Sánchez favoured trying to reach an agreement with Podemos, regional party leaders refused to accept Podemos' negotiation terms and instead favoured allowing the PP to try to form a government on its own, and the possibility of a PSOE-Podemos pact faded. President of Andalusia Susana Díaz, who was reported to be leading an open rebellion within the party, was said to be seeking to replace Sánchez as party leader and to eventually lead the PSOE into a new general election in 2016.
As neither of the two possible pacts between the major parties (PP–C's or PSOE–Podemos) had enough deputies to command a majority on their own, attention focused on the PSOE as it underwent a leadership crisis. The PP wanted the Socialists to either abstain in Rajoy's investiture vote or join them in a grand coalition, C's put pressure on the PSOE to abstain and avoid a snap election, while Podemos suggested that Sánchez had lost control of his party. PSOE and C's feared that a new election could harm them and benefit both PP and Podemos.
A persistent wave of corruption scandals struck the PP throughout the negotiation process. On 22 January, the PP became the first party ever to be charged in a corruption case, after being accused of destroying Bárcenas' hard drives in 2013, which had allegedly contained information related to the party's illegal funding. The same day, a key member of Deputy PM Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría's staff was forced to resign from his post after it was discovered that she had been involved in a scandal involving the fraudulent awarding of public contracts.
Operation Taula, a major police operation in Valencia that took place on 26 January 2016, resulted in the arrest of several former and incumbent high-ranking members of the regional PP branch, as part of the ongoing investigation into PP corruption in the region during its time in government. By early February, a massive illegal financing network had been uncovered connected with PPCV, with dozens of party officials and city councillors indicted or arrested. The judicial investigation also implicated long-serving former Mayor of Valencia Rita Barberá in the scandal; her arrest or indictment was only prevented due to the fact she had legal immunity as an incumbent senator. A few days later, on 1 February, all PP city councillors in the city of Valencia, including new local party leader Alfonso Novo, were charged with a possible money laundering offence, along with most members of Barberá's previous government. The party found itself at risk of losing its municipal group in the city of Valencia—the third largest in Spain, which had seen 24 years of PP rule under Barberá's command—and rumours circulating of a reformation of the party in the region.
On 11 February, the scandal spread to Madrid when the Civil Guard was sent to search PP's main headquarters as part of the ongoing investigation resulting from the Operation Punica scandal, uncovered in October 2014. Evidence suggested that the public work contract kickbacks from the Punica case could also involve possible illegal financing of the PP branch in the region. Esperanza Aguirre, former President of Madrid from 2003–2012 and president of the party's regional branch since 2004, resigned as regional leader on 14 February as a consequence of the scandal's political fallout, emphasising her lack of "direct responsibility" for the scandal but "assuming [her] political responsibility" both as party leader and former regional premier.
In April, an urban planning corruption scandal was revealed to involve Granada's mayor and his government, all from PP. Meanwhile, the Spanish Treasury fined former Prime Minister José María Aznar for evading tax payments through a society. On 15 April, caretaker Industry Minister José Manuel Soria stepped down from his post as a result of his involvement in the Panama Papers scandal and his confusing and inconsistent statements on the issue.
While negotiations to form a government were underway, Spain's public deficit for 2015 was announced as 5.2%, well above the 4.2% target agreed with the European Union and even exceeding the European Commission (EC) forecast of 4.8%. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded that the large 2015 deficit translate into "substantial fiscal tightening", blaming the deficit on the PP government's 2015 decision to cut taxes for the election year. On 16 April, the government lowered its economic growth forecast for 2016 from 3% to 2.7%. As a result, Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro announced €2 billion of spending cuts in order to curb the public deficit, while also demanding that the 12 autonomous communities agree their own austerity plans within 15 days to freeze public spending. Other economic data for the first quarter of 2016 showed the Spanish economy growing by 0.8% on the previous quarter, but with unemployment increasing slightly by 11,900, to 21%.
As a result of Spain not meeting its deficit target, the EC gave the country an additional year to meet its deficit requirements, but proposed a €2 billion fine, while demanding additional spending cuts worth €8 billion. Despite the government's denial that new cuts would be needed, a letter leaked on 23 May revealed that Rajoy would be willing to impose additional spending cuts "once a new government was formed" after the 26 June election, sparking criticism from opposition parties, who accused the PP of lying to the public.
On 24 June, the IBEX 35—the benchmark stock market index of Spain's stock exchange—plummeted by 12.3%, the largest fall in its history, as a result of the 'Leave' choice winning in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.
Government formation failure
On 22 January, Mariano Rajoy turned down King Felipe VI's invitation to form a government after Podemos offered a coalition proposal to the PSOE, also including IU, with Sánchez as Prime Minister and Pablo Iglesias as his deputy. This offer shocked the PSOE—which suddenly found itself at the mercy of Iglesias' party—with prominent PSOE figures describing the proposal as an "insult" and "blackmail". The next day, Sánchez also declined to run for the investiture until Rajoy had clarified whether he would make his own attempt at government formation or step back definitely. Corruption scandals concerning the PP caused other parties to reject them and withdraw from negotiations with Rajoy. This situation lasted for a week until, on 2 February, the King invited Pedro Sánchez to form a government.
After several weeks of negotiations between parties, the PSOE announced a surprise government deal with C's on 24 February. However, the form and content of the agreement met with criticism from parties both on the left and right of the spectrum, including PP and Podemos. The PP stated its opposition to the PSOE–C's pact, refusing to cede to C's demands to abstain in the investiture on an agreement they described as "a farce". On the other hand, Podemos and other left-wing parties felt betrayed and broke off negotiations with PSOE, viewing the deal as an unholy alliance between the two formerly opposed parties. Other minor parties, such as the ERC, DL, PNV and EH Bildu, also announced their opposition. As a result, Pedro Sánchez's investiture was rejected on 4 March by an overwhelming majority of 219 to 131 in the Congress of Deputies, Sánchez thus becoming the first candidate ever to fail an investiture vote.
Negotiations continued throughout March and April, but antipathy between Podemos and C's made any three-party pact between PSOE, Podemos and C's impossible. The PP pressured the PSOE to join a grand coalition, a scenario which the latter rejected. A final round of talks on 25–26 April proved inconclusive, with King Felipe VI failing to nominate a candidate for Prime Minister, and President of the Congress Patxi López announced the dissolution of the Cortes Generales for 3 May, with a fresh election to be called for 26 June, an outcome already seen as inevitable by all parties after the failure of negotiations.
Date of the election
On 3 May 2016, the King exercised the constitutional mandate and triggered an election—with the endorsement of Patxi López—by issuing a royal decree dissolving the Parliament. The decree came into force the same day upon publication in the BOE. This marked the first time since the transition to democracy that an election was called under Article 99.5 of the Constitution, wherein the initiative for issuing the dissolution of the Cortes belonged to the King and not to the Prime Minister.
|2 May 2016||After failure to form a new government, the decree ordering the dissolution of the Cortes Generales and the calling of a general election is ratified by the King with the endorsement of the President of the Congress of Deputies.|
|3 May 2016||The decree comes into force with its publication in the BOE. Parliament is officially dissolved and the general election is called. Official start of the election period.|
|13 May 2016||Deadline for parties intending to contest the election in coalition with other parties to notify the appropriate electoral boards.|
|18–23 May 2016||Deadline for parties intending to contest the election to submit their candidacies to the Electoral Board.|
|25 May 2016||Provisional candidate lists are published in the BOE.|
|28 May 2016||Deadline for Spanish electors residing abroad to apply to vote.|
|28 May–1 June 2016||Sweepstakes to appoint members of the polling stations.|
|31 May 2016||Candidacies for parties, coalitions and groups of voters standing for election are announced and published in the BOE after a period of notification and amendment of possible irregularities from 27–29 May 2016.|
|10 June 2016||Official start of the electoral campaign at 00:00 CEST (UTC+02:00).|
|16 June 2016||Deadline for electors residing in Spain to apply for postal voting.|
|21–25 June 2016||Legal ban on the publication of opinion polling in Spanish territory.|
|24 June 2016||Official end of the electoral campaign at 24:00 CEST (UTC+02:00).|
|25 June 2016||Reflection day.|
|26 June 2016||Election Day. Polls open from 09:00 CEST to 20:00 CEST. Provisional vote count officially starts from 21:00 CEST.|
|19 July 2016|| The elected Congress and Senate convene.
In Asturias, FAC announced its intention to continue their electoral coalition with the PP, due to the PP–FAC tandem obtaining 3 out of the 8 seats at stake in the December election. Meanwhile, in Navarre, both UPN and PP were likely to maintain their alliance ahead of the upcoming general election, aiming at keeping their status as the first political force in the region. I-E, IU's regional branch, started talks with Podemos ahead of an alliance. Geroa Bai and EH Bildu were open to "exploring" coalition possibilities after failing to make headway in the Congress in the region after the 2015 election. After Podemos and I-E rejected their offer of building a common platform, both parties studied the option of standing together, but ended up discarding such a possibility. Both PSOE and NCa announced their intention of continuing their alliance in the Canary Islands, whereas the PP offered to maintain its alliance with PAR in Aragon.
CDC—which contested the 2015 election under the Democracy and Freedom (DL) banner—made an offer to ERC to resurrect the unitary coalition in which they both contested the 2015 Catalan regional election. Former Catalonia President Artur Mas offered himself to lead such a coalition into the election if it was eventually formed. ERC, however, rejected the offer and chose to run alone instead. Subsequently, debate arose within CDC on the opportunity to continue the DL alliance or to opt for alternative formulas to contest the election. Democrats of Catalonia and Reagrupament, CDC's allies within DL, suggested rebranding the alliance as "Together for Catalonia" (JxCat) and demanded it to be led by an independent. CDC leaders rejected this proposal and announced on 9 May that they were contesting the election on their own.
On 10 May, the newly formed Podemos-IU alliance offered a nationwide alliance with PSOE to contest the Senate election, in an effort to prevent a new PP absolute majority in that chamber. Pedro Sánchez rejected such a possibility as negotiations were already underway in Aragon, Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community. However, the party's Valencian branch, which advocated for an alliance with Compromís and Podemos for the Senate under the "Valencian Accord" label (In Valencian: Acord Valencià), refused to acknowledge Sánchez's command, threatening a schism in PSOE ranks as the party's national leadership tried to override their regional counterpart. After several days of conflict, the PSPV acquiesced to Sánchez's demand on 13 May, reluctantly rejecting the alliance with Compromís-Podemos.
Podemos aimed at enlarging its alliance system from December, seeking to conglomerate all forces to the left of PSOE in a single, unitary alliance for the 2016 election. Both En Comú Podem and En Marea had already announced their intention to continue their successful coalitions, while Compromís' leaders expressed their will to renew their alliance with Podemos but also seeking to include EUPV, which had been left out of the coalition for the previous election. Talks between Podemos and Més had also started in the Balearic Islands ahead of a prospective election alliance, aiming at forming a "grand coalition of the left" in the islands. Podemos tried to probe PACMA for a common nationwide list for the 2016 election, but this was rejected by the latter as it perceived that Podemos was "not clear enough on the issue of banning bullfighting".
Already from 20 April, both Podemos and IU-UPeC started exploring the possibility of forming a joint list for a likely fresh election. By 30 April, as the new election was confirmed, both parties acknowledged that talks had formally started and that an agreement was expected to be reached throughout the next week. On 9 May, Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) and Alberto Garzón (IU) officially announced that a formal alliance had been reached and that their parties would be running together in the upcoming general election. Equo, which had already supported the continuation of its coalition with Podemos, announced it would also participate in the newly formed alliance. The Podemos-IU national accord paved the way for United Left to join the És el moment alliance in the Valencian Community as well.
On 13 May, it was announced that the alliance name for the election would be "Unidos Podemos" (Spanish for United We Can).
One of the main themes going into the June election was the economic cost that a new campaign would mean for the budget. During the final round of talks, King Felipe VI—anticipating a fresh election—had asked parties to run austere campaigns.
The PP proposed that the party avoid large scale rallies, aiming at running a "simpler" campaign—with smaller events in medium-sized cities and towns—while also suggesting reducing the campaign's length to 10 days and removing external advertising—namely that involving advertising through billboards and flags. The PSOE suggested reducing campaign spending by 30%, cutting mailing spending and removing external advertising. Podemos and C's proposed unifying party mailing, with C's being favourable to cutting party spending by 50%. Podemos went further and suggested limiting parties' spending to 3 million each.
All three PSOE, Podemos and C's were against PP's proposal of making a shorter campaign or for cuts to affect election debates. As some of these proposals required changes in the electoral law—something which could not happen as the Cortes would be dissolved—parties called for reaching a gentlemen's agreement; in Albert Rivera's words, "a political pact through which changing the law wouldn't be necessary". However, negotiations held to discuss the reduction of electoral spending failed to produce an agreement, with parties expected to cut their spending at will.
As parties geared up for the upcoming election campaign, the PP faced the fresh election looking back at the corruption scandals under judicial investigation in which the party was involved. Some of such scandals, involving senior party members such as Rita Barberá, stirred up debate as to whether it was best to maintain these people within party ranks or force their withdrawal. C's, on its part, discarded its pact with the PSOE after it was announced that a new election would be held, with party leaders stating that it "won't be in force anymore" once the Cortes were dissolved. However, they wanted to use the accord as a showing of the party's "willingness to negotiate" with forces both to the left and right of the spectrum. The party's main aim was to prevent that a possible campaign polarization could cast "fearful" voters away to the PP to prevent Podemos' rise. Albert Rivera said that the PP was "controlled by its 'old guard'" and that his party would not negotiate with the PP so long as Rajoy remained as leader.
The PSOE suffered from the end of the negotiations period. Carme Chacón—former Defence Minister under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero—and Irene Lozano—an independent, formerly aligned to UPyD, personally enlisted into PSOE by Pedro Sánchez for the December election—both announced their withdrawal from PSOE lists ahead of the June election. Concurrently, PSOE leaders had tried to pressure IU into avoiding an electoral alliance with Podemos out of fear of being pushed into third place nationally, with some commenting that the party's actions had been erratic and confusing throughout negotiations. Coupled with growing pessimism within PSOE ranks, this was said to potentially be able to harm them going into the campaign. On 30 April, Sánchez tried to stir up morale among party members and asked for "unity and trust" around him ahead of the new election. Susana Díaz, Sánchez's rival for the party's leadership, warned him that she would only accept "a PSOE win". Once the hegemonic party of the Spanish left, the PSOE had been pushed out of the left and into the centre, with some fearing it could run down the path of the Greek PASOK.
As the newly formed Unidos Podemos alliance was announced on early May, the PSOE found itself under threat of being marginalised as both PP and UP sought to polarise the campaign between the two. Sánchez tried to remain in the spotlight and cast off the phantom of party internal division by releasing a series of key announcements throughout the first weeks of May. Margarita Robles—a judge from the Spanish Supreme Court and former Interior State Secretary under Felipe González—and Josep Borrell—former Public Works Minister—were announced to be signing up for Sánchez's campaign; concurrently, Susana Díaz accepted to officially present Sánchez's proclamation as PSOE candidate, in a move seen as an act of apparent "reconciliation" between the two leaders ahead of the election. Sánchez was also expected to announce his "shadow cabinet" on 15 May, and tried to appeal to centrist voters that a vote for him would be a "vote for change".
Pablo Iglesias blamed the PSOE for the failure in negotiations and commented that Podemos' aim in the June election would be to directly face the PP as equals, in what he referred to as a "second round" of the December run. Iglesias offered to explore the possibility of an accord with PSOE after the election, expressing his will to form a "progressive" government, but condemned the way the PSOE had—in his view—treated his party up until that point. During an interview held a few days later, Iglesias took for granted that his party had already surpassed the PSOE nationally and stated he would offer Sánchez be his deputy in a Podemos-led cabinet. Once his electoral coalition with IU had been formalized, Iglesias again reiterated his wish to see the PSOE "as an ally"—despite the Socialists having rejected Podemos' offer for an alliance to the Senate—and put overtaking the PP as his target.
For the first time since 2011, the anniversary of the 15-M Movement came marked by the pre-electoral campaign of a general election. UP, self-declared as the Movement's political heir, intended to use the event as a launching point for its campaign. Various nods to 15-M were made: the announcement of the Podemos–IU alliance was staged on 9 May at Puerta del Sol, long-regarded as a symbol and focal point for 15-M. Concurrently, Podemos launched an "accountability" campaign under the 'Congress in your square' label "to regain the connection with the streets". On 15 May, thousands gathered at Puerta del Sol to commemorate the 15-M anniversary; the crowd shouting some of the Movement's most featured slogans, such as the "Yes we can!" warcry—which had also served as Podemos' party slogan ever since its inception.
As UP struggled to gain momentum, PP, PSOE and C's turned their attacks on the newborn alliance, trying to corner it to the far-left side of the spectrum. Andalusian President Susana Díaz said of it that it was "the reunion of the Communist Youth"; the PP described it as "the old-fashioned communists but with another name". C's leader Albert Rivera commented that his party offered itself "without sickles, hammers nor corruption", in reference both to UP and the PP.
Parties, leaders and slogans
|People's Party (PP)||Mariano Rajoy||"In favour"|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||Pedro Sánchez||"A yes for change"|
|United We Can (Unidos Podemos)||Pablo Iglesias||"The smile of a country"|
|In Common We Can–Let's Win the Change (Podemos–BComú–ICV–EUiA)||Xavier Domènech||"Let's win the change"|
|Valencian style (Podemos–Compromís–EUPV)||Joan Baldoví||"Victory of the people"|
|In Tide (Podemos–En Marea–Anova–EU)||Alexandra Fernández||"There's no one stopping the change"|
|Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's)||Albert Rivera||"Time of agreement, time of change"|
|Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes (ERC–CatSí)||Gabriel Rufián||"The only change possible"|
|Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC)||Francesc Homs||"Facts for Catalonia"|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||Aitor Esteban||"First the Basque Country. It is what matters"|
|Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)||Marian Beitialarrangoitia||"Let's create opportunities"|
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)||Ana Oramas||"It represents us"|
After the success of leaders' debates in the 2015 election, the organizing of new debates for the incoming campaign started after the Cortes' dissolution. As in the previous election, the first debate was organised by the Demos Association, to be held in the Charles III University of Madrid on 6 June. The leaders of the four main parties were invited, with Pablo Iglesias and Albert Rivera confirming their presence but making it conditional on Rajoy and Sánchez attending as well. Atresmedia also announced the group's intention to have a four-way debate, scheduled for 16 June, similar to the one held on 7 December. This time, Mariano Rajoy was willing to attend a four-way leaders' debate—unlike the previous election campaign, in which his party sent Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría instead. The PP was, however, unconvinced of holding another two-way debate with Pedro Sánchez, with Rajoy displeased with the format of the 14 December debate—allegedly after a harsh confrontation with Sánchez following the latter referring to Rajoy as "indecent".
The PSOE announced that Sánchez would not attend a debate with Iglesias and Rivera if Rajoy was not present as well. C's made Rivera's presence conditional on either Rajoy attending or having an empty lectern put in his place, but would not accept the PP sending another person instead. Podemos did not take a firm stance on the issue but Íñigo Errejón stated that his party would "go to all debates, always sending spokespeople at the same level as those sent by other political forces", thus opening the door for Iglesias not attending debates if other parties did not send their prime ministerial candidates.
As neither Rajoy nor Sánchez confirmed their presence at the Charles III debate, the Demos Association announced its cancellation on 30 May. A four-way debate was announced to be held on 13 June to be organised by the TV Academy. All four main parties confirmed their presence, with the novelty that Rajoy accepted an invitation to attend as well. Unlike the previous campaign, the PP rejected a two-way debate between Rajoy and Sánchez, on grounds that, according to opinion polls, if a two-way debate was held "it was doubtful which party was to face Rajoy"—in reference to Unidos Podemos having overtaken the PSOE in opinion polling ahead of the election.
Pablo Iglesias and Albert Rivera staged a two-on-two debate in the Salvados news show hosted by Jordi Évole. The debate was not broadcast live, but rather recorded on 28 May and intentionally delayed until 5 June. Évole had stated that the debate had been "specially harsh" between both candidates in comparison to previous similar events, and that C's had put a series of conditions in order to accept bringing Rivera to the debate.
|Spanish general election debates, 2016|
|Name Invited Participant. N Non-invitee. A Absent invitee.|
|1||5 June||laSexta||Jordi Évole||N||N||Iglesias||Rivera||Broadcast as part of the Salvados news show. It was not broadcast live, but rather, recorded the previous week and intentionally delayed to be broadcast on 5 June.|
|2||13 June||TV Academy||Ana Blanco
- Opinion polls
13 June debate
|Polling firm/Link|| Sample
Secret tapes scandal
A political storm unveiled on 22 June after leaked tapes pointed to Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz having used his position and public resources to incriminate political rivals. The recordings showed talks between Fernández Díaz and the Catalonia Anti-Fraud Office Director, Daniel de Alfonso, revealing a plot to fabricate evidence against Catalan independentist parties in 2014. At one moment of the tapes, de Alfonso says that they have intentionally destroyed the Catalan public health system. Opposition parties PSOE, Unidos Podemos and C's demanded the Minister's immediate resignation. Prime Minister Rajoy backed Fernández Díaz's acting, saying that "there are people wanting to organize a problem where there is none", rejecting to dismiss the Minister and regarding the move as a political interest-driven ploy to shake the end of the campaign. Rajoy also denied having had previous knowledge of his Interior Minister's doings, in contrast with one of the tapes showing Fernández Díaz acknowledging having briefed the Prime Minister on the issue and Rajoy's apparent approval of his plans.
Information kept leaking revealing the Minister's handlings to influence ongoing policial investigations and to leak the fabricated evidence to PP-friendly press, so as to politically harm his party's opponents. His Ministry would have allegedly created a secret branch within the Police to wage a "dirty war" throughout the previous four years, trying to discredit Catalan independentist parties at first, with such maneuvres then also directed towards Podemos after its emergence in 2014. Fernández Díaz argued that "the true plot" was that "of journalists publishing the tapes of his conversations", and claimed to be the victim of a ploy against the PP.
On 23 June, the scandal reached C's leader Albert Rivera after Daniel de Alfonso accused him of having met him in the past to collect information that could harm political rivals, in exchange of political support.
Following the result of the Brexit vote three days before the election in Spain, the PP issued a statement saying the country needed "stability" in the face of "radicalism" and "populism." It was also read as an attack on the Unidos Podemos coalition that vowed to fight for the least well-off. Iglesias said that Europe had to "change course. No-one would want to leave Europe if it were fair and united."
Congress of Deputies
|People's Party (PP)||7,941,236||33.01||+4.30||137||+14|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||5,443,846||22.63||+0.63||85||–5|
|United We Can (Unidos Podemos)||5,087,538||21.15||–3.34||71||±0|
|United We Can (Podemos–IU–eQuo)||3,227,123||13.42||–2.63||45||+1|
|In Common We Can–Let's Win the Change (Podemos–BComú–ICV–EUiA)||853,102||3.55||–0.14||12||±0|
|Valencian style (Podemos–Compromís–EUPV)||659,771||2.74||–0.38||9||±0|
|In Tide (Podemos–En Marea–Anova–EU)||347,542||1.44||–0.19||5||–1|
|Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's)||3,141,570||13.06||–0.88||32||–8|
|Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes (ERC–CatSí)||632,234||2.63||+0.24||9||±0|
|Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC)||483,488||2.01||–0.24||8||±0|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||287,014||1.19||–0.01||5||–1|
|Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA)||286,702||1.19||+0.32||0||±0|
|Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)||184,713||0.77||–0.10||2||±0|
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)||78,253||0.33||+0.01||1||±0|
|Zero Cuts–Green Group (Recortes Cero–GV)||51,907||0.22||+0.03||0||±0|
|Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD)||50,247||0.21||–0.41||0||±0|
|Galician Nationalist Bloc–Us–Galician Candidacy (BNG–Nós)||45,252||0.19||–0.09||0||±0|
|Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE)||26,627||0.11||–0.01||0||±0|
|Parties with less than 0.1% of the vote||86,865||0.36||—||0||±0|
|Yes to the Future (GBai)||14,343||0.06||–0.06||0||±0|
|Blank Seats (EB)||11,669||0.05||+0.01||0||±0|
|Spanish Falange of the JONS (FE–JONS)||9,909||0.04||+0.01||0||±0|
|Citizens of Democratic Centre (CCD)||8,945||0.04||±0.00||0||±0|
|Sovereignty for the Islands (SI)||7,418||0.03||New||0||±0|
|We Are Valencian (SOMVAL)||6,647||0.03||+0.01||0||±0|
|Internationalist Solidarity and Self-Management (SAIn)||3,110||0.01||–0.01||0||±0|
|Humanist Party (PH)||3,012||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|The Greens–Ecopacifists (Centro Moderado)||3,011||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|Libertarian Party (P-LIB)||2,996||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|Leonese People's Union (UPL)||2,295||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Spanish Communist Workers' Party (PCOE)||1,822||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|We Are Andalusians Party, For Andalusia and the Peoples (AND)||1,727||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Together for Canaries (JxC)||1,190||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Family and Life Party (PFyV)||846||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|United Free Citizens (CILUS)||830||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Platform for Catalonia (PxC)||724||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Social Aragonese Movement (MAS)||723||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Revolutionary Anti-capitalist Left (IZAR)||687||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Unity of the People (UP)||686||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Regionalist Party of the Leonese Country (PREPAL)||668||0.00||–0.01||0||±0|
|Navarrese Freedom (Ln)||622||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Political Renovation (RePo)||570||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Aragon Independents' Federation (FIA)||550||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Merindades of Castile Initiative (IMC)||356||0.00||New||0||±0|
|State of Spain Unionist Party (PUEDE)||336||0.00||New||0||±0|
|The Falange (FE)||254||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Alliance of the Democratic Centre (ALCD)||214||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Spain Elders' Force (FME)||200||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Rioja Southern Territory–Navarrese Freedom (HRTS–Ln)||80||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Everyone's Union (UDT)||48||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Votes cast / turnout||24,279,259||66.48||–3.19|
|Source: Ministry of the Interior|
|Won||+/−||Not up||Total seats|
|People's Party (PP)||130||+6||21||151|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||43||–4||20||63|
|United We Can (Unidos Podemos)||16||±0||7||23|
|United We Can (Podemos–IU–eQuo)||8||–1||4||12|
|In Common We Can–Let's Win the Change (Podemos–BComú–ICV–EUiA)||4||±0||1||5|
|Valencian style (Podemos–Compromís–EUPV)||3||+2||2||5|
|In Tide (Podemos–En Marea–Anova–EU)||1||–1||—||1|
|Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's)||0||±0||3||3|
|Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes (ERC–CatSí)||10||+4||2||12|
|Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC)||2||–4||2||4|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||5||–1||1||6|
|Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)||0||±0||1||1|
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)||1||±0||1||2|
|Gomera Socialist Group (ASG)||1||±0||—||1|
The People's Party (PP) emerged as the largest party, securing the most seats—137—but just as in the previous election, failed to obtain an overall majority. The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) clung on to second place but fell to a new record low of 85, whereas Unidos Podemos, the alliance between Podemos and United Left (IU) remained at third place with 71 seats. The PP increased its seat count by a surprising 14, capitalising on losses by both PSOE and liberal Citizens (C's). Unidos Podemos' second placed projection failed to materialise at the polls, although they maintained the same number of seats as in the previous election. Overall, the parliamentary deadlock remained, as neither bloc could gather an absolute majority of seats. However, the PP–C's bloc gained strength, climbing from 163 to 169, whereas the PSOE–Podemos–IU bloc was reduced from 161 to 156. The attempted PSOE–C's pact was reduced to 117 seats, now outnumbered by the PP alone.
Regionally, the PP swept all the autonomous communities except for Catalonia and the Basque Country, where Unidos Podemos retained first place. The PSOE, which had narrowly won in its strongholds of Andalusia and Extremadura in the 2015 election, was pushed to second place in both of them, being unable to retain first place in any region only for the second time in democracy (the first being in 2011). Nonetheless, it recovered slightly on some of the regions where it performed the worst in December 2015, with notable advances in Madrid, Valencian Community, Navarre, Asturias, Galicia and the Canary Islands. However, this contrated with setbacks in the party's own strongholds of Andalusia, Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha. The Unidos Podemos alliance only managed to improve on the 2015 combined results of Podemos and IU in the Basque Country and Navarre, suffering losses everywhere else.
In Catalonia, the Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes coalition (ERC–CatSí) saw gains at the expense of Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), which lost both Girona and Lleida which the Democracy and Freedom coalition had won in 2015. This marked the first time in democracy that ERC managed to come out on top in any province in a general election. The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) lost in Biscay only for the second time since the return of democracy, which cost them the loss of the province's 3rd seat to Unidos Podemos.
Failure in opinion polling was largely attributed to the sudden abstention of roughly 1 million Podemos' voters from December 2015, unsecure on their party's chances to rule after the election and partially disenchanted with politics at large after the failed negotiations in forming a government throughout the previous six months. At the same time, the PP result was attributed to a last-hour surge motivated by centre-right tactical voting against Pablo Iglesias, influenced by Unidos Podemos' strong showing in opinion polls. Voter turnout was a record low 66.5%, exceeding the previous lowest ever recorded turnout of 68.0% at the 1979 election. Of the four main parties, all except for the PP attracted fewer total votes than in 2015. The PSOE lost about 100,000 votes, the Unidos Podemos alliance 1,080,000 and C's 370,000. The PP received about 700,000 more votes.
30 August–2 September
|Candidate: Mariano Rajoy|
|Yes||PP (134), C's (32), UPN (2), CC (1), FAC (1)|| |
170 / 350
|No|| PSOE (84), Unidos Podemos–ECP–Marea (67), ERC (9), PDECAT (8),
PNV (5), Compromís (4), EHB (2), NC (1)
180 / 350
0 / 350
|Source: Historia Electoral|
|Candidate: Mariano Rajoy|
|Yes||PP (134), C's (32), UPN (2), CC (1), FAC (1)|| |
170 / 350
|No|| PSOE (84), Unidos Podemos–ECP–Marea (67), ERC (9), PDECAT (8),
PNV (5), Compromís (4), EHB (2), NC (1)
180 / 350
0 / 350
|Source: Historia Electoral|
|Candidate: Mariano Rajoy|
|Yes||PP (134), C's (32), UPN (2), CC (1), FAC (1)|| |
170 / 350
|No|| PSOE (84), Unidos Podemos–ECP–Marea (67), ERC (9), PDECAT (8),
PNV (5), Compromís (4), EHB (2), NC (1)
180 / 350
0 / 350
|Source: Historia Electoral|
|Candidate: Mariano Rajoy|
|Yes||PP (134), C's (32), UPN (2), CC (1), FAC (1)|| |
170 / 350
|No|| Unidos Podemos–ECP–Marea (67), PSOE (15), ERC (9), PDECAT (8),
PNV (5), Compromís (4), EHB (2), NC (1)
111 / 350
|Abstentions||PSOE (68)|| |
68 / 350
|Vacancies: PSOE (1)|
|Source: Historia Electoral|
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- "Spain ended 2015 with a 5.2% deficit over GDP, one point more than the target" (in Spanish). El Economista. 2016-03-31.
- "The IMF says Spain needs a "significant" deficit adjustment" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-04-13.
- "Spain lowers its economic forecast to 2.7%" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-04-16.
- "Montoro announces a €2 billion cut in public spending" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-04-15.
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- "Socialist leaders think that Iglesias' offer is an insult" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-01-22.
- "Sánchez will tell the King that it is the PP the ones who must try to form government" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-01-23.
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- "Pedro Sánchez tells the King that he is "willing to try to form a government"" (in Spanish). El Diario. 2016-02-02.
- "Pedro Sánchez will try to form a government with "the forces of change" and asks for regeneration "with the PP in opposition"" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-02-02.
- "Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera invite all other parties "from left and right" to their pact" (in Spanish). El Diario. 2016-02-24.
- "Sánchez awaits for the PNV while pressure on his agreement with Citizens increases" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2016-02-25.
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- "Carme Chacón: "I go for political motives"" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2016-04-28.
- "Irene Lozano also renounces to enlist PSOE files in Madrid" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-04-28.
- "PSOE pressures IU into avoiding running with Podemos" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-04-26.
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- "Díaz promises to help Sánchez but warns him: "I look only for a PSOE win"" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-04-30.
- "Podemos and PSOE start struggle over hegemony of the left" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-05-05.
- "The PSOE before 26-J. Some data" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-05-19.
- "The 'second round' duel between Rajoy and Iglesias marginalizes the PSOE" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-05-10.
- "Pedro Sánchez recovers Josep Borrell and Margarita Robles" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-05-12.
- "Susana Díaz accepts Sánchez's request to present him in his proclamation" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-05-12.
- "Pedro Sánchez asks for more support for 26-J and promises "decency, dialogue and dedication"" (in Spanish). RTVE. 2016-05-14.
- "Pedro Sánchez announces his "government of change" in Barcelona" (in Spanish). EcoDiario.es. 2016-05-15.
- "Sánchez claims Adolfo Suárez to expand his political offer to the centre" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-05-14.
- "Iglesias asks followers to "give the sorpasso to the PP" and "win the election"" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2016-04-26.
- "Pablo Iglesias: "Our enemy is not the PSOE, we want to win the election to PP" (in Spanish). 20 Minutos. 2016-04-27.
- "Pablo Iglesias takes the 'sorpasso' for granted and offers Sánchez to be his deputy" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-05-04.
- "Pablo Iglesias: "To be Prime Minister in a pact with PSOE, it will be votes that count, not seats" (in Spanish). La Razón. 2016-05-15.
- "Unidos Podemos uses the 15-M to gain momentum" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-05-15.
- "Five years later, the 15-M wants to rule" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-05-15.
- "From Sol to the 'sorpasso': this is how the 15-M earthquake has changed the Spanish left" (in Spanish). El Confidencial. 2016-05-13.
- "Thousands celebrate the 15-M fifth anniversary at Puerta del Sol" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-05-15.
- "The 15-M returns to Madrid streets five years later" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-05-15.
- "Susana Díaz, on Unidos Podemos: "It is the reunion of the Communist Youth"" (in Spanish). infoLibre. 2016-05-13.
- "González Pons: "Unidos Podemos are the old-fashioned communists but with another name"" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2016-05-14.
- "Albert Rivera: "C's offers itself without sickles, hammers nor corruption"" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-05-14.
- "'In favor', PP campaign slogan" (in Spanish). zamora24horas.com. 2016-05-31.
- "Soulless slogans for 26J" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2016-06-11.
- "'A YES for change', PSOE slogan for 26-J" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2016-05-14.
- "Unidos Podemos shows its logo and campaign slogan: the smile of a country" (in Spanish). 20 Minutos. 2016-06-02.
- "En Comú Podem reveals list and slogan 'Let's Win the Change'" (in Spanish). euia.cat. 2016-05-23.
- "Oltra, Iglesias and Garzón, drawn by Paco Roca for the A la Valenciana coalition" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-06-07.
- "Unidos Podemos changes "country" for "peoples" for its rally with Colau on Barcelona" (in Spanish). La Voz Libre. 2016-06-08.
- "Rivera starts the pre-campaign with "white glove" with PSOE and attacks to PP and Podemos" (in Spanish). El Confidencial. 2016-05-29.
- "ERC sees En Comú Podem as the "electoral opponent" to beat" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2016-06-07.
- "CDC will campaign to "face" the "extremisms" of the PP and CUP" (in Spanish). eldia.es. 2016-06-08.
- "The PNV asks Basques to make a difference voting "in Basque Country key"" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2016-05-30.
- "Let's create opportunities". ehbildu.eus (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-05-30.
- "Iglesias and Rivera accept a new debate in Carlos III, but only if Rajoy and Sánchez also attend" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2016-05-04.
- "Atresmedia proposes 16 June for a new four-way debate" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-05-04.
- "Rajoy only wants a single four-way debate in neutral ground" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-05-05.
- "The PP notes the PSOE on Rajoy's demands: only a four-way debate and on neutral ground" (in Spanish). EcoDiario.es. 2016-05-06.
- "Sánchez, Iglesias and Rivera will only go to debates if Rajoy is in" (in Spanish). La Voz de Galicia. 2016-05-05.
- "Pedro Sánchez closes the door to debating with Iglesias and Rivera if Rajoy doesn't attend" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-05-06.
- "Parties' demands cause the cancellation of the Demos Association university debate" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-05-30.
- "The only electoral debate between Rajoy, Sánchez, Iglesias and Rivera will be held on Monday 13 June" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-05-31.
- "Rajoy rejects a "face to face" with Pedro Sánchez and prefers a four-way debate with Rivera and Iglesias" (in Spanish). formulatv.com. 2016-05-25.
- "Albert Rivera and Pablo Iglesias "struggle in a pretty hard way" in 'Salvados'" (in Spanish). 20 Minutos. 2016-06-03.
- "The veto in the face-to-face in 'Salvados': "Citizens did not want to do it in a bar"" (in Spanish). ecoteuve.es. 2016-06-03.
- "Wiretapping to Fernandez Diaz burst the final phase of the campaign" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-06-22.
- "De Alfonso to Fernandez Diaz: "We have destroyed their health system"" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2016-06-22.
- "Sánchez, Iglesias and Rivera demand Fernández Díaz's immediate resignation" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-06-22.
- "Rajoy attributes Fernández Díaz's scandal to an electoral maneuver" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-06-22.
- "Jorge Fernández Díaz: "The Prime Minister knows of this"" (in Spanish). Público. 2016-06-22.
- "Fernández Díaz: "Ideally, this should be in court and, if it comes out, no one will suspect it comes from the Police"" (in Spanish). Público. 2016-06-22.
- "Four years of police dirty war against the opposition shake the PP on the eve of elections" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-06-22.
- "Fernández Díaz presents himself as the victim: "First you shoot and then you wonder"" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2016-06-22.
- "De Alfonso sets the fan on and says Albert Rivera asked him "something" in exchange of support" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-06-23.
- "De Alfonso: "Albert Rivera came to see me and asked me to give him something"" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-06-23.
- "Spain Election Day: Parties look to break the stalemate". bignewsnetwork.com. 2016-06-26.
- Jones, Sam (2016-06-27). "Spanish elections: renewed deadlock beckons as no party wins majority". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-27.
- Saez, Santiago (2016-06-27). "Spanish election cements deadlock". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
- "Which Parties Won And Lost Votes In Which Spanish Regions In The 2016 General Election?". The Spain Report. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "Opinion polls "failure" attributed to the abstention of one million Podemos' voters" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2016-06-27.
- Media related to Spanish general election, 2016 at Wikimedia Commons