Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has announced early elections will take place on the 20 November instead of next March.
The premier said one of the reasons he had set the date was to stop political debate from being dominated by speculation. Speaking on Friday afternoon, he also said future economic planning was a factor in the decision:
“I consider it important to have elections in autumn so that the new government will take charge of the full economic year of 2012.”
It is also believed Zapatero’s Socialist Party are keen to take advantage of better than expected economic data for the summer.
The Bank of Spain had advised the government to call an early election to help boost investor confidence and ease credit flows – which are worries now that ratings agency Moodys is contemplating downgrading Spain.
Facing early elections, the opposition will be forced to outline its economic policies and plans for the country.