A worker removes a campaign poster for the national elections depicting Spain's Prime Minister and Popular Party candidate Mariano Rajoy, in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
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For more than 30 years, Rajoy's Popular Party (PP) and the Socialists had alternated power, but millions of Spaniards exasperated with austerity and corruption scandals voted relative newcomers Podemos and centre-right Ciudadanos into third and fourth place.The Socialists (PSOE) followed suit, with number two Cesar Luena saying his party would block any government led by Rajoy, whose drastic spending cuts, tax rises and health reforms over the past four years have proved deeply unpopular.With the upstart Ciudadanos also ruling out backing Rajoy, the austere 60-year-old premier appears increasingly beleaguered and alienated.Official results showed the PP won 123 seats – 63 less than in 2011 when it roared to victory with an absolute majority – with almost 29 percent of the votes.The PSOE followed with 90 seats and 22 percent of the vote, then Podemos with 69 seats and almost 21 percent, and finally the centrists Ciudadanos with 40 seats or nearly 14 percent.Created less than two years ago, the anti-establishment party quickly went on to win five seats in European elections, and has now become the parliament's third political force.
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