Spain's right-wing Popular Party led by rising star Isabel Diaz Ayuso won a resounding victory in Madrid's regional elections Tuesday, handing a stinging defeat to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialists, partial results showed.
With more than 50 percent of the votes counted, Ayuso more than doubled the PP's showing in the 2019 ballot, winning 64 of the regional parliament's 136 seats, while the Socialists shed 12 seats to secure just 25.
"Today is a turning point for national politics," said PP chief Pablo Casado, hailing Ayuso as "the leader that Madrid deserves."
At the helm of Spain's richest region for less than two years, Ayuso, 42, has been one of the leading critics of Sanchez's leftist government and its handling of the pandemic.
An outspoken hardliner, she has won widespread support for resisting government pressure to impose tighter restrictions on the local economy.