The Spanish Government, meeting in extraordinary session, dissolved Parliament on Monday and approved the call for early general elections for July 23, as the head of the Executive, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, had previously announced.
The strong setback suffered this Sunday by the left in the municipal and regional elections has led Sánchez to bring forward the parliamentary elections, scheduled for next December.
The general elections will be held during the Spanish presidency of the European Union, which begins on July 1.
The significant rise of the right has made the socialists lose large shares of power in regional governments and town halls.
The conservatives of the Popular Party (PP) have achieved an absolute majority in the city of Madrid and its region, where they already governed, and now they aspire to unseat the left-wing coalition between socialists and United We Can from the nation’s government.
The electoral advance was a rather unexpected decision, which has surprised both Sánchez’s political rivals and sectors of his own party.
To everyone’s surprise
The rise of the right in local elections led the president of the Spanish Government, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, to bring forward the general elections in Spain to July, in the midst of the Spanish presidency of the European Union.
In a quick decision – the day after the municipal and regional elections – and radical, instead of others such as a change in the composition of the Executive, Sánchez chose to call the electoral appointment expected for December on July 23.
A reaction that surprised not only his political rivals, but even his own party and that puts Spain back in the electoral race just one day after going to the polls.
ascent to the right
The conservative Popular Party won close to seven million votes in elections for city councils across the country and for twelve of the seventeen regional governments, some 761,000 more than the Socialists.
This advance allows the conservatives to consolidate key places in Spanish politics, such as Madrid, and to wrest others from the Socialists with the support of the extreme right of Vox, which also improves their results.
And not only the socialists lose local and regional power, but their partner in the Government of Spain, the left-wing formation United We Can, which was divided into different acronyms, falls to the point of being left without representation in electoral constituencies that can mark the pulse of Spanish politics, such as Madrid.
Sánchez decided to go ahead by assuming these results “in first person”, in a scenario of a left-wing central government weakened at the polls against local executives dominated by a euphoric right, with the risk of further wear and tear until the legislature is completed despite the projection that the European presidency can entail.
The message of the ballot boxgoes further” of local politics and “The best thing is that the Spanish take the floor and pronounce themselves”, sentenced the also general secretary of the socialist party PSOE, thus putting an end to the first coalition government in more than forty years since the recovery of democracy in Spain.
That they decide therefore the polls, instead of other ways, such as having tried some new alliance to complete the legislature.
Back in the electoral race
The socialists, after acknowledging that the advance was only known by the “hard core” that surrounds their leader, they took on the challenge confident of mobilizing left-wing voters in the face of the risk that a coalition between conservatives and the far-right might come to power in Spain.
Until now, its partners from United We Can already work to recover unity and try to make different acronyms that can disperse their voters, as seen this Sunday, although time is against them to close coalitions. without the margin that they would have had had this advance not been made.
Instead, the leader of the conservatives, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, called for his promotion to end in July, confident that the “Spaniards have said ‘this is how far we have come’” on the left.
Even its leader in the Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, spoke of Sánchez’s “surrender” as he was “In a dead end”.
The president of Vox, Santiago Abascal, showed “outstretched hand” to the PP if it were necessary to agree after the generals.
Some elections that will come shortly after Spain assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1, something for which there are already precedents in France and Poland.
Being a presidency of the country, not of the government that runs it at that time, if there were a political change in Spain it should not affect the essential priorities of the semester, since many of them are set by the European institutions.
This is the first time that local elections have caused such a rapid electoral advance in Spain and that Spaniards find themselves at the polls in the middle of the summer holidays, after having already begun a hasty countdown to July 23.
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