Spain goes to the polls on Sunday, April 28, in a snap general election called by socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez last month.  The move followed the government’s failure to get its budget through parliament on February 13.

Sr Sánchez party, the PSOE, holds only 84 of the 350 seats in the lower house but has been supported by a number of smaller parties since it ousted the Partido Popular with a no confidence vote in June last year.  The government was not obliged to call a general election until 2020, but last month, Catalan separatist Deputies refused to accept Sánchez’ budget following his refusal to discuss self-determination for their region.

Talks with the Catalans broke down a week before the budget vote with the government maintaining is position as defined in the Constitution: that the nation is in “indissoluble” and no part can secede from the whole.

The Catalan Deputies voted against the budget with the conservative Partido Popular, despite their differences and were joined by members representing centre-right Ciudadanos to defeat the bill by 191 to 159 votes.  The forthcoming general election will be the third in four years for Spain, and was described in the national press as, “the vote that nobody wants.”

The election date of April 28 will be preceded by the formal electoral campaign period from April 12 to 26, and comes four weeks to the day ahead of the municipal, autonomous and European elections on Sunday, May 28.  Throughout the period, Pedro Sánchez will be mindful of the result of Andalucía’s early regional election last December which saw the socialists lose control of the region for the first time in almost 37 years.  It also produced the first success in Spain for the far-right party Vox which won 12 of 109 seats in the regional parliament and which has said its electoral campaign will target areas of low-pay and high immigration.