The far-right Vox party lost seats in Spain's elections on Sunday, staving off the prospect of a first hard-line nationalist-backed government since Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship and pointing to limitations in the European far-right's bid for the mainstream.

Polls had predicted a win for the center-right People's Party (PP) with Vox as the likely kingmaker, but they failed to win a majority, leaving Catalan and Basque pro-independence parties holding the balance of power in a hung parliament.

Vox's share of seats fell to 33 from 52 despite campaign endorsements from a who's who of nationalist leaders, including Italy's Giorgia Meloni and Hungary's Viktor Orban.