SPAIN: Beleaguered Socialist PM Calls New Election

Reuters reports:

With his left-wing coalition government fractured over Catalonia’s drive for independence, Spain’s Socialist prime minister was forced Friday to call for a new general election in April.

A new election likely will result in a far-right political party taking seats in Spain’s parliament for the first time since the nation’s transition to democracy after the Franco dictatorship ended in the 1970s.

Vox, as the party is known, has grown in popularity along with other radical right parties in Europe as voters become disillusioned with traditional major parties on the left and right.

The New York Times reports:

In a speech on Friday, Mr. Sánchez highlighted the virtues of his social policies, which include raising the minimum wage by more than a fifth, and introducing plans to raise pension payments — but it may not be enough to return him to office.

Mr. Sánchez’s Socialists may emerge as the largest party in Parliament, but remain outnumbered by the conservative Popular Party, the center-right Ciudadanos and Vox.

That would mean one less center-left leader at the table of European politics, at a time when Social Democratic governments are already increasingly rare. The trial of the 12 separatist Catalan leaders is likely to keep the Catalan issue front and center of the campaign.