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Spain prime minister’s shock election call brings unruly coalition to heel

MADRID (AP) – Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s snap general election call breaks apart the coalition he built with the far-left United We Can party, marking a line in the sand with a movement born from grassroots activism whose electoral fortunes have nosedived.

On Monday, Sánchez brought forward a national election expected in December to July 23 after the conservative Popular Party (PP) and far-right Vox movement dramatically increased their vote share in Sunday’s local and regional elections.

Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, known by the Spanish acronym PSOE, has led a minority central government with United We Can since 2019, but internal arguments with his coalition partners have increasingly dominated headlines. United We Can’s leadership is also engaged in a separate feud with Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz, who has started her own political movement, Sumar.

A political scientist and professor at UOC University in Barcelona Ernesto Pascual said the prime minister wanted to force the hand of the poorly performing, squabbling groupings to the left of his own party, to clarify who had the capacity and will to govern the country.

“Pedro Sánchez needs a bloc to his left which is united. So what he does is to prevent United We Can and Sumar from confronting each other anymore,” Pascual said.

“He is telling them, look, these are the electoral results. Either you unite or it is going to be a disaster,” he added.

A demonstrator bangs on a pot during a protest to mark the anniversary of the ‘Indignados’ movement in Sol square, Madrid, Spain. PHOTO: AP
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