The December 2015 and June 2016 Spanish elections both produced inconclusive results. Neither the right-wing parties (the Popular Party and the new Citizens’ party) nor the left-wing parties (the Socialists and the new Podemos) won enough lower house seats for a right or left majority. In October 2016, incumbent Popular Party PM Mariano Rajoy won a confidence vote after the Socialists abstained.
On June 1, Rajoy lost a confidence vote by 180 votes to 169, following a corruption scandal that involved members of his party. Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez became the new PM.
However, with only 84 of the 350 lower house seats, the Socialists will find it difficult to legislate. Furthermore, the Popular Party controls the upper house, which is elected by First Past the Post, while the lower house uses rough proportional representation.
The next Spanish election is not due until 2020, but it could be held earlier. The Citizens wanted a snap election, as they hold a lead in current polls.
In Italy, almost three months after the March 4 election, a coalition government was formed between two populist parties: the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League. Combined, both parties have majorities in both chambers of the Italian Parliament. Five Star has nearly twice as many seats in both chambers as the League, so they are the senior partner in the coalition.
There was a last-minute hitch when the Italian President refused the nomination of the Finance Minister, as the nominee was Eurosceptic. However, the League and Five Star Movement selected a different nominee who was acceptable to the President.