December 22, 2016 / 1:39 PM / 4 years ago

Spain's socialists cheer at last: they win El Gordo lottery

Paquita celebrates with lottery kiosk owners Agustin Ramos and his wife Maria Jose Rojo outside the kiosk where the winning number was sold in Spain's Christmas Lottery "El Gordo" (The Fat One) in Madrid, Spain, December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - Staff from the Madrid headquarters of Spain’s PSOE socialist party were among the top winners on Thursday of El Gordo, the world’s biggest lottery jackpot with prizes totaling 2.31 billion euros ($2.41 billion) this year.

“A great end to a difficult year,” the PSOE said on the party’s official twitter account.

The party lost general elections in December last year and in June against the center-right People’s Party, registering its worst election results in 40 years.

Up by 70 million euros this year, El Gordo, Spanish for “The Fat One,” is designed so as many people as possible get some win or at least break even with cash prizes doled out across the country.

Many people buy tickets in groups and companies, local bars or associations often offer tickets to staff and customers. On the day of the draw, people huddle around television sets and watch school children sing out the winning numbers.

El Gordo’s complex rules - which allow for multiple purchases of the same lottery number - mean it is not yet clear how much the PSOE staff will get.

($1 = 0.9570 euros)

Reporting by Julien Toyer Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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