Spanish Socialist party’s staff celebrate big win in 2.3bn El Gordo lottery

A great end to a difficult year for Madrid staff of party that lost two general elections in six months and remains without a leader

Spains Socialist party may have lost two general elections in the space of six months, ousted their leader and found themselves eclipsed by the anti-austerity Podemos party, but the past 12 months have not been without at least one small victory.

On Thursday, the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) announced that staff at its Madrid headquarters had won a share of the countrys 2.3bn (1.96bn) Christmas lottery, El Gordo (the Fat One).

Happy that many workers have got lucky with the Christmas lottery, the party said in a tweet, adding, with a degree of understatement: A great end to a difficult year.

The fillip, however, is likely to be short-lived as the party is still reeling from its worst elections results in four decades and remains without a leader following the removal of Pedro Snchez two months ago.

The 2016 El Gordo comes at the end of the most tumultuous year in Spanish politics since the transition to democracy following Francisco Francos death in 1975.

Two inconclusive general elections left the country without a government for 10 months until the end of October, when Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative Peoples party, managed to form a minority government thanks to an abstention by a deeply divided PSOE.

The Christmas lottery has once again proved a welcome distraction from political skirmishes and Spains slow recovery from the economic crisis of 2008. Madrid proved the big winner of this years El Gordo as all the tickets bearing the first prize number of 66513 were sold in the capitals Acacias neighbourhood.

The winning number was sold at a lottery shop that was taken over by its new owner just four months ago. The outlet is on Paseo de la Esperanza or Hope Street.

The five lucky digits appeared on 1,650 tickets, yielding each holder of a dcimo or 10th share 400,000.

El Gordo, which dates back to 1812, offers more total prize money than any other lottery. According to organisers, ticket sales this year rose to 2.6bn up 3.5% on 2015.

Read more: