Spain’s prime minister calls early general elections for July

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Monday that he will dissolve the Spanish government and trigger elections for July 23.

The announcement came the day following local elections, which saw Sanchez’s Socialist Party lose the leadership of several regional governments, including Valencia, Aragon and Extremadura. On the municipal level, it also lost to the Popular Party.

“As prime minister and head of the Socialist Party, I assume my responsibility, and I think it’s necessary to respond to these results and submit our democratic mandate to the popular will,” Sanchez said in a televised speech.

Spain will also become the rotating president of the EU Council in July, and Sanchez said Spanish citizens should clarify which government it wants to “take on this responsibility in this very important geopolitical context.”

In his speech, Sanchez added that Spain is now on a clear path of recovery from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine and that his government has already passed the programs it promised when elected.

“We need to clarify which political forces should be leading this next phase, and there’s only one infallible method to clear up these doubts – democracy.”

Although the move to trigger elections for this summer came as a surprise, Spain was set to hold general elections sometime before the end of the year.

In his speech, Sanchez said the local election results mean that “new majorities from the Popular Party and Vox will administer numerous institutions.”

While it is still unclear how the governments will be formed, Sanchez’s sudden move to call elections puts pressure on the mainstream conservative party and the far-right Vox politicians to figure out their unclear alliance. In most cases, the Popular Party failed to win outright majorities.

If they are unable to form local governments as the Popular Party hesitates to pact with Vox, it could suggest that a left-wing coalition is the only alternative at a national level. If the Popular Party pacts with Vox, it could also repel some mainstream conservatives.

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