Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a statement on the political crisis in Venezuela at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is considering calling an early national election for April 14, state-owned news agency EFE reported on Monday citing unnamed government sources.
The ruling Socialists hold less than a quarter of the seats in the lower parliamentary house and face a key vote on the 2019 budget on Wednesday, that they could well lose.
Officials had told Reuters over the past few days that an early election was likely but that, while April was a possibility, the date had not been set yet.
The government, whose term is scheduled to run to 2020, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Sanchez’s party has been struggling to gather enough support to pass the budget bill, and depends on the vote of smaller parties, including Catalan nationalists, who have said they will vote against it.
Twelve Catalan politicians will appear in Spain’s highest court on Tuesday on charges of mounting a rebellion for their role in the region’s failed independence bid in 2017 which was quashed by Madrid. [L5N1ZR0MN]
Speculation has been rife for months in Spain over if, and when, the country could go to snap elections.
Sources told Reuters over the past days that May 26, when Spanish voters will elect EU lawmakers and regional and local representatives, was another possible date.
Polls have shown that the conservative, center-right and far-right, all of whom have taken a harder line on Catalonia than Sanchez, could win enough votes in a national election to govern together.
Reporting by Andres Gonzalez and Belen Carreno; Writing by Paul Day and Ingrid Melander; editing by John Stonestreet