By Bryn Miller
By Bryn Miller
Rabat – Like in previous elections, the Spanish Popular Party won by large margins in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, located in Morocco’s mainland.
Spanish voters failed to break the six-month political deadlock in the congressional elections on Sunday, leaving the conservative Popular Party (PP) and Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a caretaker role.
Rajoy has been in power since 2011, when his party won 186 out of 350 seats in the congressional election. In the next round of congressional elections in December 2015, PP received only 29% of the vote, failing to achieve a majority. The conservative party was unable to form a coalition with one of the other three main parties. Since December, the PP and Rajoy have assumed a caretaker role and the government has remained in deadlock.
Rajoy’s party received 33% of the vote on Sunday, beating out the center-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) by 10%, leftist United Podemos by 13%, and fourth-place Ciudadanos by 20%. However, the PP was unable to negotiate a coalition deal for the majority.
Due to the PP’s repeated success in the elections, Rajoy has asserted this this result gives him the right to resume office even without attaining a majority. However, the PSOE has stated that it will not negotiate a coalition agreement with the PP nor accept Rajoy’s governance, indicating that Spain’s political deadlock will continue.
The PP received the highest margins of victory in Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s two autonomous cities within the borders of Morocco. 52 percent of voters in Ceuta and 50 percent in Melilla voted for Rajoy’s party in Ceuta. Popular Party representatives and Rajoy have visited the cities numerous times, especially before election cycles, to symbolically affirm their commitment to keeping the enclaves.
Morocco has clashed with Spain over control of the two enclaves for decades. Although the current international stage appears favorable for Morocco’s attempts to claim the cities, Rajoy’s government would be unlikely to surrender them. Spain has always insisted that the two enclaves are Spanish cities, and denied the existence of a dispute with Morocco over their status.