(CNN) -- After the election results of this Sunday, where the Popular Party was the most voted force in the regional and municipal elections, the president of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced on Monday that he dissolves Parliament and calls general elections for July 23, five months before the ordinary term runs out.
"I have just maintained an office with His Majesty the King in which I have communicated to the Head of State the decision to convene a Council of Ministers this afternoon to dissolve the Cortes and proceed to the convocation of general elections in use of the prerogative that the Constitution attributes to the president of the government," Sánchez said in a message issued from the Moncloa Palace.
"The formal call for elections will be published tomorrow Tuesday in the Official State Gazette so that the elections will be held on Sunday, July 23, according to the deadlines established by law," he announced.
The Socialist Party suffered heavy losses to opposition conservatives in Sunday's local elections, with about 95 percent of votes counted, perhaps underscoring its electoral vulnerability ahead of a general election at the end of the year.
Only three of the 12 regions that held elections will maintain Socialist dominance by very narrow margins, and the rest will probably opt for the conservative Popular Party, albeit with coalitions or informal support agreements with the far-right Vox party.
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The Popular Party's (PP) gains indicate that the conservatives could unseat the current left-wing coalition led by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) if they repeat the results in the national elections.
The figures showed few clear majorities, except in the Community of Madrid, where the regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, of the PP, probably won re-election with an absolute majority.
The main setbacks for the Socialists were in the regions of Valencia, Aragon and the Balearic Islands, as well as in one of the most important socialist fiefdoms: Extremadura.
In large cities such as Valencia and Seville, where mayors were also elected, the count was in favor of the PP, which also won an absolute majority in the city of Madrid.
Barcelona was an exception among big cities, with a pro-independence party winning the most votes by such a narrow margin that it will need a deal with the Socialists to unseat the current mayor, leftist Ada Colau.
The tally showed a return to a two-party system dominated by the PSOE and PP after a decade of increased participation by smaller parties such as leftist Podemos and centrist Ciudadanos, which appeared to have largely lost their seats to the PP.