Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has called early general elections in November, four months before they had been expected.
Mr. Zapatero made the announcement on Friday in a move political analysts said was designed to give his Socialist Party candidate a better chance against the conservative frontrunner.
Socialist candidate Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba trails Popular Party candidate Mariano Rajoy in polls, but a new one released on Wednesday showed Mr. Rubalcaba closing the gap.
Mr. Zapatero announced earlier this year he would not seek a third term. He set the general election date for November 20.