Sunday October 01, 2023

Spain PM calls snap election after local poll drubbing

May 30, 2023

MADRID: In a surprise move, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called on Monday for a snap election on July 23, a day after his Socialist party suffered a drubbing in local and regional polls.

Widely seen as a dress rehearsal for a general election that had been expected at the end of the year, Sunday´s polls saw the main opposition group, the Popular Party (PP), chalk up the largest number of votes.

The right-wing PP also scored significant gains at a regional level, seizing six regions that had been led by Socialists, including Valencia in the east and the Balearic Islands, which includes the holiday island of Ibiza.

In a televised address, Sanchez said he had informed King Felipe VI of his decision to dissolve parliament and call a general election on July 23 “in light of the results of yesterday´s elections”. “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,” he said.

The results “require a clarification from Spaniards about what policies the government should implement and which political forces should lead this phase,” he said. Oriol Bartomeus, a professor in politics at the Barcelona Autonomous University, said Sanchez was “facing a dismal defeat and now he´s changed the playing field”.

“The alternative was six months of governmental bloodletting and he has decided to gamble it all,” he told AFP. In office since 2018, Sanchez has faced obstacles including voter fatigue with his left-wing government as well as soaring inflation and falling purchasing power in the eurozone´s fourth-largest economy.