Interesting times for a comparative-politics geek. We have so many hung parliaments in Europe that the price of rope is climbing.
Two months after their December elections, Spain has yet to see a government form. The election saw the rise of the centrist Citizens party and the anti-austerity Podemos ("We can") to make a coalition government of some sort needed, as the ruling right-of-center Popular Party got the most votes but well short of a majority, while their arch-rival Socialist Party (PSOE is their acronym en Español) getting a unsolid second, losing ground to Podemos on their left.
There's often enough bad blood between the two main parties to make "grand coalitions" of the two big-boys problematic. The PP has a few corruption scandals to work through, making them a less-than-savory senior partner. A center-left package of Podemos, the PSOE and Citizens is also problematic as Podemos wants a vote on independence for Catalonia which the other two view as anathema.
New elections this spring are an option if no one can patch together a majority. Having a plurality government installed with the help of abstentions by a grudging silent partner (the Canadian liberals did that for a plurality Conservative government in the 'aughts) is a possible solution if cooler heads prevail, but that is also subject to said government being ousted on a no-confidence vote if the silent partner opts not to abstain courteously anymore.
Ireland had their elections Saturday and are still putting the finishing touches on the counting, which uses multi-seat districts and preference voting, so the process of pruning the minor party votes and seeing what their second and third and fourth choices are can be time-consuming.
With ten seats still outstanding, the ruling coalition of Fine Gael and Labour have 53 seats, well short of a 80 seat majority. Fine Gael to me reminds me of Tony Blair and 90s-vintage Bill Clinton, mildly progressive and comfortable with a market economy. FG gets cast as "conservative" by many European writers, but would be left-of-center in an American telling of the tale.
Fine Gael's arch rival is the right-of-center Fianna Fail; the two have traded power for most of the last century. Both go back a century to independence, where Fianna Fail was part of the faction that at first wouldn't take their seats lest they pledge allegiance to the British King. After a decade, FF opted to start taking their seats, leaving Sinn Fein (often seen as the IRA party) as the primary abstentionist bloc. In the last few decades, Sinn Fein has come in out of the abstentionist (and oft-terroristic from The Troubles to the north) cold and set up shop as a hard-left party still bent on bringing Northern Ireland into the Irish fold, albeit peacefully.
FF has 43 seats as we go to press, and Sinn Fein clocks in at 22. Independents now have 16 seats and a hodgepodge of mostly leftist parties has another 14.
That leaves some sort of grand coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail as a logical choice; the two would have 90 seats between them, making Fine Gael more right than left on the Irish spectrum of 2016. However, logic is often in short supply after years of enmity between arch-rivals.
The alternative would be for Fine Gael to form some sort of center-left-hard-left coalition that would include Sinn Fein, since the math for FG getting something without either FF or SF would be a major struggle.
Dublin will see some serious sausage-making, as FG seems to be the fulcrum, having center-left or center-right coalitions within the realm of the feasible. A lot depends on whether Sinn Fein would be a manageable junior partner able to be part of the mundane features of running a country, something radical parties are often loathe to do, becoming the establishment they long despised.
[Update 11:25AM-Looks like Sinn Fein would rather be on the outside looking in, per party boss Gerry Adams (yes, the semi-reformed IRA guy)-"Sinn Féin made clear that we will not prop up the parties that created and sustained the crisis." implicitly blaming FF for creating the late-00s financial mess which hit Ireland very hard and FG for mismanaging the aftermath. If he sticks to his guns, a grand-coalition would be the path of least resistance.]