SPAIN'S socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called an early General Election this summer. 

Sanchez made the surprise announcement on Monday that a ballot would be called in July this year, a day after his party took a serious battering in local and regional elections.

Prior to Sunday’s debacle, Sanchez had insisted that he would ride out his four-year team, indicating that elections would take place in December.

Speaking at the Moncloa palace in Madrid on Monday morning, Sánchez announced that he had informed King Felipe of his decision to dissolve parliament and call a General Election on July 23 – five months before the next election was due to be held.

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“I’ve taken this decision in view of yesterday’s election results,” he said.

“The first consequence of the results is that magnificent socialist regional presidents and mayors who have governed impeccably have lost despite the fact that many of them increased their support yesterday.

"The second consequence is that many, many institutions will be administered by new majorities comprising the People’s party and Vox.”

Sánchez said that while Sunday’s votes had been municipal and regional, they had “transmitted a message” that transcended local considerations and demanded a democratic response.

Announcing the election, he stressed Spain’s post-Covid economic recovery, the country’s forthcoming EU presidency, and said it would be for the Spanish people to decide what happened next.

“I think we need a clarification when it comes to what the Spanish people want, a clarification when it comes to the policies that the national government should offer, and a clarification when it comes to the political groups that should lead this phase,” he said.

“There’s only one infallible method for resolving those doubts – and that method is democracy. As a result, I think the best thing is for Spanish men and women to have their say and to decide the country’s political direction as soon as possible.”