What Happened: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced an early general election for April 28, El Pais reported Feb. 15. Sanchez made the announcement two days after the opposition blocked his budget proposal for 2019 in parliament.
Why It Matters: The early general election will likely result in a fragmented parliament and lengthy negotiations to form a government. Catalonia's status will be a major bone of contention during the campaign as center-left parties defend the need for dialogue with the region and center-right parties demand a tough stance on the area. A new government that would include center-right and nationalist parties would likely lead to renewed frictions between Madrid and Barcelona.
Background: Sanchez assumed office in June 2018 after a vote of no confidence against former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Sanchez had been leading a minority government that depends on support from other parties, including pro-independence parties from Catalonia, to pass legislation.