Spanish PM calls early general election after local elections defeat

FILE: President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides (R) and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez attend a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, on April 4, 2023. Spain will take an initiative to restart the stalled Cyprus peace negotiations when it takes up the rotating six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) on July 1, the country's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said during his working visit here on Tuesday. (Photo by George Christophorou/Xinhua)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday called a general election for the country on July 23.

Sanchez announced his decision from his official residence following the defeat of his Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) to the People’s Party (PP) in the elections for 12 of Spain’s regional governments and over 8,000 city halls on Sunday.

Sanchez said in a brief statement: “I have communicated to the Head of State (King Felipe VI) the decision to call a Council of Ministers this afternoon to dissolve Parliament and proceed to call a general election.”

The prime minister explained that he had taken his decision “in the face of yesterday’s (Sunday’s) results,” adding he believed it was the “best for the Spanish people to be able to give their decision and define the political future of this country without delay.”

In the regional and municipal votes on Sunday, PP had won 31.5 percent of the vote, whereas PSOE gained 28.11 percent. Meanwhile, the Vox party saw its votes almost doubled compared to the 2019 local elections.

PP has also won the city halls in Valencia, Zaragoza and in Seville which has long been considered a socialist stronghold.

On Sunday night, the PP leader, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, celebrated his party’s victory in the regional and municipal elections, calling it “the start of a new political era.”

Previously, Sanchez had suggested he would complete his four-year term, which would have meant the general elections were due to be held in December. ■

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