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El Mundo: Election Ends Two-Party System In Spain

El Mundo, Dec. 21, 2015

"Spain knocks down two-party system and leaves the government high and dry," reads the front page of conservative newspaper El Mundo, after Sunday's general election saw the expected rise of newcomers Podemos on the left, and Ciudadanos on the right.

It's a "messy" situation for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, one El Mundo columnist writes.

Despite coming in first, Rajoy's ruling center-right Popular Party fell well short of securing a majority with just 28.7% and 123 MPs (out of 350), meaning it will have to seek support from its opponents if it wants to rule.

The establishment center-left party PSOE was the main loser of the evening, with only 22%. This results, El Mundo writes, leaves the party's leadership with the tough choice of either getting in bed with their age-old right-wing opponents, or leading a coalition of left parties with upstart Podemos, third on 20.6%, and regional independent parties in the Basque and Catalonia regions.

Another possibility highlighted by the newspaper is for Rajoy's party to form a minority government with fourth-ranked Ciudadanos, dubbed the Podemos of the right. This would however likely force a change in leadership, with the newcomers firmly opposed to pro-austerity Rajoy remaining in power.

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First It Was Poland's Farmers — Now Truckers Are Protesting Ukraine's Special Status

For the past month, Poland has been blocking off its border checkpoints to Ukrainian trucks, leaving many in days-long lines. It's a commercial and economic showdown, but it's about much more.

Photogrqph of a line of trucks queued in the  Korczowa - border crossing​

November 27, 2023, Medyka: Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Korczowa as Polish farmers strike and block truck transport in Korczowa - border crossing

Dominika Zarzycka/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba

Since November 6, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points with Ukraine, citing unfair advantages given to the Ukrainian market, and demanding greater support from the European Union.

With lines that now stretch for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), thousands of Ukrainian truckers must now wait an average of about four days in ever colder weather to cross the border, sometimes with the help of the Polish police. At least two Ukrainian truck drivers have died while waiting for passage into Poland.

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The round-the-clock blockade is being manned by Polish trucking unions who claim that Ukrainian trucking companies, which offer a cheaper rate, have been transporting goods across Europe, rather than between Poland and Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from the permits once required to cross the border.

Now, Polish truckers are demanding that their government reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian lorries, with exceptions for military and humanitarian aid from Europe. For the moment, those trucks are being let through the blockade, which currently affects four out of Ukraine’s eight border crossings with Poland.

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