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Spanish PM calls snap election for July

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called a surprise July snap election on Monday May 29th, a day after his Socialists suffered a major setback in local and regional polls.

Spanish PM calls snap election for July
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez delivers a speech during the parliamentary debate in 2022. Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP.

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.

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POLITICS

Spain to ‘definitively’ withdraw ambassador to Argentina

Spain will "definitively" withdraw its ambassador to Argentina after President Javier Milei refused to apologise for calling Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's wife "corrupt", Spain's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Spain to 'definitively' withdraw ambassador to Argentina

Spain withdrew its ambassador to Argentina at the weekend and Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said that the envoy “will remain definitively in Madrid. Argentina will no longer have a Spanish ambassador.”

Argentina’s outspoken president caused outrage with an attack on socialism at the weekend while at a Madrid conference organised by the far-right Vox party.

“The global elites don’t realise how destructive it can be to implement the ideas of socialism,” Milei said.

“They don’t know the type of society and country that can produce, the type of people clinging to power and the level of abuse that generates.”

He added: “When you have a corrupt wife, let’s say, it gets dirty, and you take five days to think about it.”

Sánchez, a Socialist, recently considered resigning after Spanish prosecutors opened a preliminary corruption investigation against his wife, Begoña Gómez, which was quickly closed.

READ ALSO: Who is Begoña Gómez? Spanish PM’s partner thrust into spotlight

Within hours of Milei’s attack, Spain recalled its ambassador and Albares slammed the visiting president’s “insult”.

He demanded a “public apology” from Milei, saying that Madrid would not exclude the possibility of rupturing diplomatic ties. Sánchez also called on Milei to retract his comments.

However, the Argentina government slammed what it called “flashy and impulsive threats” and insisted that Sánchez’s government should apologise.

Milei, a self-declared “anarcho-capitalist”, won elections last November with a vow to cut Argentina’s vast public debt to zero. He has instituted an austerity programme that has seen the government slash public subsidies.

But he has also become known for his controversial remarks.

There has been weeks of rising diplomatic tensions between Spain and Argentina leading up to the latest spat. One Spanish minister last month indicated that Milei took drugs.

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