Spain faced a changed political landscape Monday after the "Indignado" protest movement gave the ruling conservative rivals a battering in local elections, topping the vote in Barcelona and shattering the governing party's majority in Madrid.
In a dramatic shakeup of Spanish politics, an upstart group backed by the anti-austerity protest party Podemos could now govern in the capital, a longtime conservative stronghold.
The new political groups Barcelona En Comu and Ahora Madrid were formally launched just a few months ago, but the results of the vote show they are already loosening the grip of the two big parties that have run Spain for nearly four decades.
The new parties were born out of the "Indignado" "Outraged" protests that swamped Spanish streets during recent years of economic crisis, campaigning against corruption and unemployment.
Ahora Madrid, led by 71-year-old retired judge Manuela Carmena, came second behind Spain's governing Popular Party [PP] - but it could govern the capital if it joins forces with the main opposition Socialists, who came third.
That would mark a stunning blow to the PP, which has governed Madrid for 23 years, and to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he braces for a general election due around November.
"We will remember this as something special and extraordinary," Carmena told supporters in the city center.
Barcelona En Comu, which gained just one more seat than its nearest competitors in the city council, is led by 41-year-old activist Ada Colau, who rose to prominence defending poor homeowners from eviction.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team