With more than 90 per cent of the votes counted, Spanish government spokesman Isabel Celáa announced the final turnout and provisional results, with the the party of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, gaining 28.8 per cent of the vote, reports El País.
With almost all the votes counted, the Socialists together with the far-left Podemos were 11 seats short of a majority in the 350-seat parliament.
Partial results in Spain's election show the incumbent Socialists winning the most votes in the general election but falling well short of a majority.
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But, it could have been worse - they had hoped for an even bigger breakthrough, and they hoped to form a coalition with PP and Ciudadanos, like they did after the December regional election in Andalucia, in the south of Spain.
While PSOE strengthened its position in the Spanish government, the rise of the xenophobic, anti-feminist Vox Party sparked alarm in the run-up to country's snap election.
Sanchez might instead try to cut a deal with Ciudadanos.
Of his victory, Mr Sanchez told supporters in Madrid: "The Socialist party has won the general elections and with them the future has won and the past has lost".
They proportionally elect more lawmakers than the inhabitants of big cities, but at the same time the cut-off point for parliamentary representation there is trickier to reach, making the outcome harder to predict the more parties there are.
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Should the results be confirmed Sanchez will need the support from smaller parties, including the Basque and Catalan nationalists, to stay in power and achieve the 176-seat majority needed to govern.
Spain returns to the polls today, for the third time in less than four years, and with a political outlook that is more fractured than ever.
There was speculation before the election about a possible coalition between the Socialists and Citizens, though both parties' leaders have ruled it out.
Founded by a disgruntled former member of the PP, partial results give it 23 seats in the national parliament.
On the splintered right, three parties had competed for leadership: the once-dominant conservative Popular Party, the centre-right Citizens, and the nationalist, anti-migrant Vox party.
However Albert Riviera, head of Ciudadanos, said he would lead the opposition and "keep a close eye on the government".
"It is important to underline that this remains a splitting of the right-wing vote, with Vox not having made inroads among traditional left-wing areas up to now".
"Forming a government will be far from straightforward", Antonio Barroso, an analyst with the London-based Teneo Intelligence consultancy firm, said in a commentary Monday.
The region's independence drive was the most divisive issue in an election dominated by a sometimes fraught debate over national identity.