The Spanish 2023 general elections: unexpected snap elections to survive in power Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2024

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0140-2382

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1743-9655


  • The 2023 Spanish general election was a snap election called unexpectedly by the PM Pedro S├ínchez the day after the local and regional elections in May 2023. Turnout was higher than expected (66.6%) and the result confirmed the high degree of multi-dimensional polarisation in Spanish society. Right-wing parties improved their position: the mainstream conservative PP increased its support mainly at the expense of Ciudadanos and the far-right VOX. Yet, parties on the left, especially the incumbent PSOE, performed better than predicted by polls and, together with the seats won by regional parties, were able to keep a dominant position in Congress. A left-wing minority coalition cabinet was ultimately formed with two parties in government (PSOE and Sumar) and the parliamentary support of several regional parties. Parliamentary support was reached after an agreement that includes decentralisation measures and an amnesty to repair the judiciary consequences of the 2017 independence referendum in Catalonia, which showcases the multilevel and multidimensional complexity of Spanish politics.


  • general elections; spain; coalition; polarisation; catalonia