The president of the Junta de Andalucía government, Susana Díaz, has decided to bring forward the next regional elections by three and a half months. The regional parliament in Seville was dissolved this week and Andalusians will be called to the polls on Sunday, 2 December.
The regional PSOE Socialist party leader's move had been widely anticipated although Díaz kept people guessing until the last minute ahead of her announcement on Monday.
Regional government has become increasingly difficult in the last month since centrist Ciudadanos, whose support was needed by the ruling PSOE to get its votes passed, decided to break the pact between the two parties agreed in 2015.
In the 109-seat chamber, where 55 seats are needed for a majority, the PSOE currently has 47 seats and Ciudadanos eight seats.
Ciudadanos had become increasingly restless in the alliance, citing ongoing cases of alleged corruption by Junta members and the failure of Díaz to keep some of the promises within the agreement.
Sources said that the change from a PP to a PSOE national government in Madrid, which Ciudadanos is criticising heavily, had made the political divorce inevitable.
Faced with a battle to get her 2019 budgets approved as a result of the split, Díaz has taken the gamble of calling an election shortly before the statutory four-year term is up in March next year.
Although campaigning doesn't officially begin until 16 November, politicians across Andalucía have already been busying themselves with public appearances.
Analysts said that it wasn't clear that any party would get a majority in the forthcoming election, although the PSOE is expected to be the largest party again. Nor was it clear where a coalition would come from.
Ciudadanos has ruled out pacting with the PSOE once more, in an attempt to woo the centre right vote from the PP. Meanwhile the recent relationship between the PSOE and the left wing parties IU and Podemos, who will stand on a joint platform called Adelante Andalucía, has not been good.
In her speech announcing the elections, Díaz, who is expected to be confirmed as the PSOE party's lead candidate again later this month said that "Andalucía needs a clear horizon", adding that she wished to avoid six months of campaigning before March and also distance the regional elections from next May's municipal and EU elections.
She had delayed the announcement a few weeks, she said, in order to give time for local legislation on gender equality and climate change to pass through parliament.
Regional leader of the conservative PP, Juanma Moreno, said, "After 40 years of Socialism, Andalusians can choose a different future on 2 December," adding that the PSOE was "cornered by corruption".