King Felipe VI of Spain signed a decree on Tuesday to dissolve Parliament and hold a rerun of national elections for the first time since the country’s return to democracy in the late 1970s. The step followed months of political paralysis and discord over who should form a government after inconclusive elections in December. That election resulted in a fracturing of Spain’s political landscape with the emergence of insurgent parties that challenged the establishment, marking a sea change in the nation’s politics. The repeat election is now scheduled for June 26, but opinion polls suggest that the outcome of a new vote could look much like the first, which split ballots among four main parties, with no single one close to a majority. Turnout, however, could fall amid growing frustration about the intense but fruitless party squabbling.
Whatever the outcome in late June, Patxi López, the Socialist president of the lower house of Parliament, called on Tuesday for an electoral overhaul to tighten future deadlines for forming a government and to ensure that Spain does not spend so much time again in political limbo. He also urged party leaders to draw lessons now from their failure to break the deadlock since December.
“We haven’t managed to fulfill the citizens’ mandate,” Mr. López told a news conference after meeting the king on Tuesday morning. “I hope that these four months have served to understand a few things.”
The repeat of elections was virtually guaranteed a week ago, when Felipe’s final round of consultations with party leaders ended in failure.