Spain faces 'deep change' after local poll drubbing: Press

Spain faces 'deep change' after local poll drubbing: Press

MADRID - Spain headed into a whole new political landscape after voters battered the nation's two traditional parties at the ballot box in local elections, switching their allegiance to new parties, newspapers said Monday.

"Spain's political panorama has entered a new phase," centre-right daily newspaper El Mundo wrote in an editorial while centre-left El Pais said the results of Sunday's elections marked "deep change".

"The regional and local elections confirm the beginning of a political upheaval in Spain marked by the loss of the hegemony of the (ruling) Popular Party," El Pais added.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party won 12 of the 13 regional governments in Sunday's elections but lost its absolute majorities.

It won the most votes overall across the cities but saw its support plunge to 27 per cent from 37 per cent in 2011.

The two mainstream parties, the Popular Party and the main opposition Socialists, which have alternated in government for nearly four decades, captured a combined 52 per cent of the vote nationwide, down from 65 per cent four years ago.

Support instead switched to new centre-right party Ciudadanos and anti-austerity party Podemos, which was born out of the "Indignado ("Outraged") protests that swamped Spanish streets during the recent years of economic crisis.

"It would be misleading to interpret what happened as the revolution that some have claimed, but it would also be a mistake to minimise the strong message that these results represent change," El Pais added.

The mayoral candidate backed by Podemos won the vote in Barcelona and could govern in the capital Madrid, a longtime conservative stronghold.

"This result in Spain's two biggest cities was the most demonstrative symptom of the political and social transformation which the country faces," El Mundo added in its editorial.

Conservative daily newspaper ABC said that while the Popular Party won the most votes "it lost power", while Catalan daily La Vanguardia spoke of a "radical change" in Spanish politics in its editorial.

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