THE SURPRISE decision of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to call snap elections for July 23 continued to have knock-on effects on Friday, after the European Parliament decided to delay Spain’s presentation when it assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union Council Presidency. 

The move came in response from a request by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and is designed to avoid the presentation from taking place in the middle of the electoral campaign and just 10 days before the July 23 vote. 

If the change had not been made, the Socialist Party politician would have made the presentation as caretaker prime minister ahead of the polls. 

The new prime minister who emerges from the elections will be in charge of the presentation in September. 

The battle at the general election is likely to be a close one between Sanchez and Popular Party leader Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, and both parties are predicted to need the support of other groups to form a government. 

The leader of the European Popular Party, Manfred Weber, had also requested this delay according to news agency Europa Press. 

In a letter to the European Parliament, the party argued that it should be the president elect who presents the priorities for the coming months, away from ‘domestic political battles’.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in a file photo from 2023. Credit: Chris Kleponis / Pool/Sipa

That move was slammed by the Socialists in the European Parliament. 

“Weber and the PP, as ever, are trying to make partisan and manipulative use of the European institutions, putting their interests before the general interest and that of Spain,” said the leader of the Socialist Party in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia. 

“Once again the PP has shown itself to be irresponsible in opposition,” she added, in comments reported by Europa Press.

Sanchez called the snap elections after his party, and leftist groups such as Unidas Podemos, fared very badly in the local and regional elections held on Sunday. 

The move is a high-risk gamble by Sanchez, and has raised the ire of the opposition and voters alike given that the date, July 23, is a time when many Spaniards will be taking their summer vacation.

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