On Monday, May 29, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced an early general election scheduled for July 23. This decision comes after his left-wing coalition government faced significant setbacks in local and regional elections. It is noteworthy that Sanchez had previously expressed his intention to complete the full term in office, with national elections originally planned for December.
The announcement was made in a televised address to the nation, where Sanchez said that he had informed King Felipe VI of his decision to dissolve parliament. This also comes a day after his Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and their junior ally Podemos lost ground in the local and regional elections to the conservative People’s Party (PP) and right-wing party Vox.
“I took the decision when looking at the results of the elections of yesterday,” said Sanchez. He added, “Although yesterday’s elections had a local and regional scope, the meaning of the vote conveys a message that goes beyond that. That is why, as both prime minister and PSOE’s secretary-general, I personally assume the results.”
Notably, Sanchez had previously said he would complete his four-year term which indicated that the elections will be held sometime in December, which would also be close to the end of Spain’s rotational presidency of the European Union which begins on July 1.
“I believe it is necessary to respond and submit our democratic mandate to the will of the people,” said Sanchez, in the televised address.
In the local vote, PP secured a significant win, garnering 31.5 per cent of the votes. Meanwhile, the PSOE, which currently leads the government, maintained a narrow dominance with 28.2 per cent of the votes. However, it also marks a 1.2 percentage point decrease for PSOE when compared to 2019 and almost a nine-point increase for the conservatives.
These results, based on more than 97 per cent of votes counted, were revealed by the Interior Ministry. Meanwhile, the PP, in the regional elections won in seven of the 12 regions contested some of which were previously won by PSOE, including Valencia, Aragon and La Rioja.
The Socialists also faced significant setbacks with losses in the Valencia, Aragon, and Balearic Island regions, as well as in the traditionally Socialist stronghold of Extremadura in southwestern Spain. The PP also secured an absolute majority in the city of Madrid.