Spanish election night leaves us with five key points: Pedro Sánchez was, however you look at it, the great winner of the night. He'll now be able to continue in government and have room for manoeuvre on both the right and left of the parliamentary arc, free to choose the alliance which interests him most: either the one which has always been denied, with Ciudadanos (Cs), or an agreement with Podemos - which lost significant support - and the pro-independence parties. Sánchez will need the Catalan parties if he opts for the second option, though not all of them: it would be enough to have a parliamentary agreement with just the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the Basque nationalists of the PNV. It is obvious that Sanchez made a correct call when he announced a snap election, and even if nothing is certain in politics, he now faces a much calmer legislature than the one that he closed the book on in February. The possibilities that the Socialists (PSOE) will be able to govern alone are very high.
Second. The Spanish right has been cut to pieces in these elections. José María Aznar has lost a great battle and now returns to his sarcophagus; who knows if perhaps the fight for the control of the right will finally take place without his participation. The Popular Party (PP), which previously had 137 members in Congress, has lost more seats than it retains: 65 deputies are left, 72 have gone; and something similar has happened with its votes. The conservative party of Manuel Fraga, Aznar and Mariano Rajoy has never fallen into the darkness of such a deep abyss. It remains to be seen how Pablo Casado will handle a blow like this, since he has no shortage of enemies waiting for their moment, starting with former deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría and Galician leader Núñez Feijóo. Although the results achieved by Cs were more than acceptable, they are of no use for either of the party's two main objectives: definitively ousting the PP, or forming a right-wing coalition. The second objective is impossible now, and the first could be within reach in the future... as long they don't reach an accord with the PSOE first.
Third. The ERC victory in Catalonia is clear and convincing: it won in both votes and seats and with this result reached a milestone not achieved since the Second Republic of the 1930s. The battle for hegemony with Together for Catalonia (JxCat) had been clearly tilted in favour of the Republican party, who beat them in all four Catalan provinces, doubling their rivals' results in votes and seats. An undeniable success of the strategy of Oriol Junqueras, who with an iron hand has imposed moderation as the central political axis of the party. The independence movement as a whole obtained acceptable results, improving those of the Spanish general elections of 2016 but far from the Catalan elections of 2017. It is also important to bear in mind that all the political prisoners who stood for the elections won their seats: in the Congress, Junqueras (ERC), Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull (all JxCat); and in the Senate, Raül Romeva (ERC).
Fourth. JxCat did not reap the disastrous harvest that the surveys predicted, but their numbers are not good at all. The fact that only one seat has been lost puts a brave face on the outcome, but the fact that the party only won 12% of votes should set off all the alarms, especially with the municipal elections coming up in just four weeks. Many elements are to blame, from internal division and internecine power struggle to the absence of a medium-term strategy. But also, the erratic functioning of the Catalan Government with a politically vague presidency and a lack of leadership capacity that far from adding solidity, creates uncertainty. It is very difficult for Quim Torra to face the problems ahead with such a weak team around him.
And fifth. The elections have left one item of very good news and that is that Vox has obtained 24 seats, a figure that is respectable but far below what surveys had been predicting. In addition, they will be of little use since their parliamentarians will be very marginal. The fear of the party's eruption has been, at least for the moment, postponed. It is very striking that in Catalonia, Vox and the PP only claimed one seat apiece and Ciudadanos only five - a total of just seven. It would be difficult to find anywhere in Spain with so few seats and only 20% of votes going to the right and extreme right. Catalonia is still, thankfully, different.