The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has this Monday called an early general election for July 23rd, an election that was expected to be held six months from now, in December. He affirmed this in an institutional statement from the Moncloa government palace, the day after the defeat of his Socialist (PSOE) party in the autonomous and municipal elections of 28th May, in which the People's Party (PP) of Alberto Núñez Feijóo won practically everything and the PSOE lost almost all the territories it had.
It was an appearance behind closed doors in which the press did not have access, and it served to respond to the failure of his party on Sunday. In fact, he wanted to make it very clear that he accepts the resounding electoral defeat that the PSOE suffered, and that is why he has reported that he has spoken to the Spanish king, Felipe VI, to inform him of the calling of an extraordinary cabinet meeting and the dissolution of the Spanish houses of parliament. "I accept the results", said the leader of the executive, who has chosen to submit to the "democratic mandate and the will of the people".
The PSOE already came out last night to evaluate the disastrous results. The first reaction from Socialist headquarters, however, was more cautious; and the party limited itself to admitting a "defeat" in the face of the overwhelming victory of Alberto Núñez Feijóo's PP, which swept the municipal elections throughout the state as well as autonomous community elections in many Spanish territories. "We assume that we need to do things better and make more of an effort to have confidence in the next elections" was all the comment that was made by party spokesperson and education minister Pilar Alegría. One of the few parts of the state where the Socialists had a good electoral performance was in Catalonia.
Now, the short time that there seemed to be left to change the result on the scoreboard has run out. If this Sunday night it seemed that Pedro Sánchez's party had six months to change the direction of Spanish politics and win the general elections in December, now they have only two months to win back their electorate. "It's not the result we expected", said Alegría from party HQ on Sunday, who asked her party to "reflect" on the next elections, which will now be held sooner than almost anyone expected.