POLITICIANS across Spain jumped on comments from a senior official this week in which he let slip that the date of the next general election may be brought forward.
Jose Luis Abalos, the left-leaning Partido Socialista’s (PSOE) Organisational Secretary, said the party had not ruled out holding a ‘Super Sunday’ on May 26. The move would see municipal, regional, national and European elections held on the same day.
Speaking during a visit to the Moroccan capital of Rabat on Monday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez did not confirm or deny early election speculation when pressed by reporters.
He said Abalos had made a “common sense” suggestion and added it was within the Prime Minister’s powers to decide when an election would be held.
Sanchez’s comments mark a change in tone and are significant because he has repeatedly and explicitly ruled out bringing elections forward from their current date. A national vote has to be held no later than Sunday July 26 2020.
Leading figures from other parties were quick to respond to the remarks. Pablo Casado, leader of the conservative Partido Popular (PP), called on Sanchez to hold elections “immediately”.
He added his party was “ready to win” when he did.
Ines Arrimadas, spokesperson for the centrist Ciudadanos, echoed Casado and said Sanchez should hold a vote as soon as possible.
Pablo Enchenique, the leftist Podemos’ Organisational Secretary, said the party’s governing body would meet on Friday to decide on a course of action.
Sanchez’s decision this week not to rule out a ballot could be interpreted as a realisation that the ruling PSOE’s position in Parliament leaves it with little room for manoeuvre.
Its casual relationship with the small regionalist parties who banded together with the PSOE to oust Mariano Rajoy’s PP government in June has not survived into the autumn. Some have ruled out backing the PSOE’s budget for next year.
Currently the passing of the budget is not guaranteed. If the PSOE cannot get it passed the party would have little choice but to call a vote and shore up its position.