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King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Will the King have more luck this time round? Photo: AFP

King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain

AFP · 12 Oct 2016, 09:09

Published: 12 Oct 2016 09:09 GMT+02:00

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Felipe VI will meet parliamentary faction leaders on October 24th and 25th, less than a week before an October 31st deadline to form a government, speaker Ana Pastor announced.

After the talks, the king will decide "whether he can put forward a prime ministerial candidate who has sufficient support," she said.   

If there is no government after the deadline, the king will be forced to call new elections under a constitutional timeframe.

Spain has been without a fully-functioning executive for close to 10 months as rivals have failed to agree on a government following two elections in which none of the main parties won an absolute majority.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party won both elections but without enough seats to rule alone, and it needs other groupings to either vote for its minority government or abstain in a parliamentary vote of confidence.

Rajoy attempted to get through the vote last month but failed - blocked by lawmakers from the Socialist party and the far-left Unidos Podemos coalition.

But since then, the Socialist party has been ripped apart by divisions over what strategy to take going forward, and its leader Pedro Sanchez, a staunch critic of Rajoy, was forced out on October 1st.

Under interim management, the party is now trying to decide whether it should continue to veto a Rajoy-led minority government, or let it rule by abstaining in the vote of confidence.

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The party is expected to call a special meeting on the issue around October 23rd, which could explain why the king has decided to wait until the end of the month to hold talks.

If the Socialists with their 85 parliamentary seats decided to abstain, Rajoy may be tempted to try and get a minority government through again, safe in the knowledge that this time round, he would have enough support in the vote of confidence.

This would see Spain's political paralysis finally unblocked, thereby avoiding a third round of elections.

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