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Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez announces snap election for April 28

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By Pascale Davies  with Reuters
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez announces snap election for April 28
Copyright  Reuters

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed on Friday a general election would be held in Spain on April 28.

The decision followed the Spanish parliament's rejection of the government's preliminary 2019 budget on Wednesday.

"We had to present our budgets, and we did, and unfortunately did not succeed, but I also say: there are parliamentary defeats that are social victories, the citizens have seen what this government wants for this country," Sanchez told reporters on Friday.

Sanchez's socialist PSOE party holds less than a quarter of seats in parliament and needed support from the smaller regional parties to get the budget passed.

But the Catalan parties, the Catalan Republican Left and Catalan European Democratic party, joined the centre-right and conservatives in voting down the proposal in a major blow to Sanchez.

The Catalan parties said last Friday they would vote against the budget as they were unhappy with the government’s refusal to consider or discuss an independence referendum for their region.

The vote came at a time of deepened divisions between Catalonia and Madrid. The trial of 12 Catalan separatists, charged with rebellion for declaring independence in 2017, began on Tuesday.

In total, 191 ministers voted against the budget and 158 were in favour, with one abstention.