One day after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s PSOE suffered major setbacks in local and regional polls, the PM called a surprise snap election for July 23rd.
In a televised address on Monday May 29th, Sánchez said he had informed King Felipe VI of his decision to dissolve parliament and call a general election.
“I have taken this decision in light of the results of yesterday’s elections,” he said.
“As the head of the government and of the Socialist party, I take responsibility for the results and I think it is necessary to respond and submit our democratic mandate to the popular will.”
The PP secured just over seven million votes (31.52 percent) in the municipal elections, compared with nearly 6.3 million for the Socialists (28.11 percent).
It had long been anticipated that the general election would be held at the end of the year, likely the last weekend of November, but the Spanish Prime Minister has now brought it forward, citing the need for a “clarification of the will of the Spanish people regarding the policies and political forces that should lead this [next] phase”.
“The best thing is for Spaniards to have their say,” he said.
PSOE sources told Spanish outlet La Sexta that the shock announcement shows that PSOE “understood the message” of the poor results, and are seemingly framing the election as a now or never poll: “If this country has to choose between a progressive government and a far-right government, do it now,” the sources said.
The decision also presents two other political curiosities.
By the time the general election takes place in July, a little under two months will have elapsed between the municipal and regional votes, something unprecedented in Spanish political history.
The decision is further complicated by the fact that Sànchez is due to take up the Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2023, between July 1st and December 31st.