April 29, 2019

In the snap general election held in Spain, the Socialist Party (PSOE) of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has won the highest number of seats but fallen short of an absolute majority. The elections saw the resurgence of the far-right party Vox, thus following a global trend.


  • General election: In a parliamentary democracy, a general election is held once every few years in which every adult can vote to determine the people who will represent them in parliament. 

  • Snap election: 
    • It refers to a swift and often unforeseen decision by the party in power to initiate a general election sooner than the fixed-term deadline. 

    • Generally speaking, the Prime Minister under such systems does not have the legal power to call an election, but rather must request the election be called by the head of state, which by convention is granted. 

  • Reason behind snap elections:
    • It is used as a tactic by party in power to exploit the opposition’s perceived weakness in any given political moment and to bolster their majority in parliament.

    • However, snap elections can also backfire on the incumbent and resulting in a decreased majority.

  • Snap vs Recall Election: It differs from a recall election in that it is initiated by politicians (usually the head of government or ruling party) rather than voters.

  • Snap vs by-election: It differs from a by-election in that the winners will serve an entire term as opposed to the remainder of an already established term.