NO REPORTER NARRATION Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday (February 15) called a snap national election for April 28, after losing a key budget vote earlier in the week.
Sanchez, who depended on the votes of small regional parties to pass legislation, was thrown against the ropes this week when Catalan nationalist parties, at a time of heightened tension over an independence drive by their region, voted against the draft fiscal bill contributing to its defeat and triggering the prime minister's decision to call elections.
Sanchez took office in June last year after the previous conservative government was ousted in a no-confidence vote.
The demise of his minority Socialist government raises the likelihood of months of uncertainty in the euro zone's fourth-largest economy, whose political landscape is increasingly fragmented.
Opinion polls show that no single party would win enough votes to govern on its own, with possible coalition scenarios pointing to lengthy negotiations between three or more parties - potentially including the far-right Vox party.