Surprise as opposition party wins Galician General Election

Surprise as opposition party wins Galician General ElectionThe Conservatives have scored an unexpected victory over the governing coalition of Social-Democrats and Nationalists.

Conservative party Partido Popular has scored an unexpected victory over the governing coalition of social-democrats and nationalists.

The leader of Partido Popular de Galicia (PPdG), Mr Alberto Núñez-Feijóo, has become the new Galician president after a dramatic win at the General Election held on March 1st 2009.

The conservatives obtained a tight parliamentary majority of 38 seats over the combined 37 seats of social-democrats' Partido Socialista de Galicia (PSdG) and nationalists' Bloque Nacionalista Galego (BNG).

Final results gave the PPdG 38 seats with 46.68% of the votes, followed by 25 seats with 31.02% of the votes for the PSdG, and 12 seats with 16.01% of the votes for the BNG.

Although the PSdG - BNG government coalition won 789,427 votes in the election, some 5,773 votes more than the PPdG with just 789,427, the complex Galician electoral system eventually returned a majority of PPdG members to the Galician Parliament.

The result came as a surprise for all parties as pre-election polls were forecasting a victory for the PSdG - BNG government coalition, which had been in power since winning the 2005 election by only one seat over the PPdG.

During his campaign, Mr Núñez-Feijóo repeatedly accused the government coalition of wasting public money and not dealing efficiently with the global financial crisis that is affecting Galicia.

Following their defeat, former president Emilio Pérez-Touriño (PSdG) and vicepresident Anxo Quintana (BNG) stepped down as leaders of their respective parties and recognised that their government should have "communicated better" with the Galician society.

The resignation of Mr Pérez-Touriño and Mr Quintana has opened a leadership contest in both the Partido Socialista de Galicia and Bloque Nacionalista Galego.

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