UPDATED: Spain government calls snap election after local ballot losses

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  • PM Sanchez calls election for July 23
  • Opposition PP and far-right Vox beat expectations
  • They may ally in several regions

By Inti Landauro

MADRID, May 29 (Reuters) – Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday called a snap election for July 23, a day after his left-wing coalition government suffered heavy losses in regional ballots to the opposition conservatives.

“Although yesterday’s elections had a local and regional scope, the meaning of the vote conveys a message that goes beyond that,” Sanchez said in a televised speech. “I believe it is necessary to respond and submit our democratic mandate to the will of the people.”

Sanchez had previously said he wanted to see out a full term in office and that national elections would take place in December, near the end of Spain’s rotating presidency of the European Union, which begins on July 1.

Sanchez’s Socialists (PSOE) and their junior ally Podemos lost groundon Sunday, while the mainstream conservative People’s Party (PP) and far-right party Vox performed better than expected.

The PP potentially took as many as eight regional governments from the Socialists, depending on how successful the opposition party is in negotiating alliances with Vox.

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