Spain's king calls on right-wing leader to try to form government

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Spain's king calls on right-wing leader to try to form government
Spain's King Felipe VI receives the candidate of conservative Partido Popular (People's Party) Alberto Núñez Feijóo as part of the round of consultations with political representatives before proposing a candidate for the investiture, at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid on August 22, 2023. Spain's King Felipe VI began meeting party leaders in a bid to break an impasse over the formation of a new government following inconclusive elections last month. Acting Prime Minister tries to win an investiture vote in parliament -- which determines who forms the government -- with the support of its far-left partner Sumar and smaller regional parties, including Catalonia's separatists. (Photo by Sebastian MARISCAL / POOL / AFP)

Seeking to break a political impasse, Spain's King Felipe VI on Tuesday called on Alberto Núñez Feijóo to seek to form a new government, despite his conservative Popular Party not having a majority.


The PP garnered the most votes in an inconclusive election last month and the king called on Feijóo to try to form a government with the PP at the head of a coalition.

The Socialist president of parliament, Francina Armengol, told a news conference that the king had communicated "his decision to propose Alberto Núñez Feijóo as candidate to head the government."

But the outcome remains uncertain as the early elections on July 23rd left neither Feijóo's conservatives nor outgoing Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez with a clear path to a majority.

READ MORE: Five key takeaways from Spain's general election

Armengol said nonetheless she would be contacting Feijóo in the coming hours to set a date for a parliamentary investiture debate.

Both Sánchez and Feijóo had indicated after meeting earlier with the king that they would submit themselves to an investiture vote should the monarch designate them.

READ ALSO: How do you pronounce Alberto Núñez Feijóo?


Earlier, Felipe, seeking to ascertain which party leader has the best chance of eventually putting together a coalition, also met Santiago Abascal, leader of the far-right Vox party.

The PP won the most votes in the poll but it is not clear if it can secure the 176 votes in parliament required to obtain an absolute majority in the 350-seat chamber.

Should Feijóo fail, that would trigger a two-month countdown to determine if another majority can come together. Failing that the country will go back to the polls to try to break the political deadlock.

On the face of it, Feijóo will fall short as his PP has 137 parliamentary seats while potential allies Vox and two small regional parties only have 33 between them which, if pooled, would give a PP-led coalition only 172 votes, four short of the required majority.

Sánchez said he would accept Feijóo being designated to form a government -- while predicting his rival would be unable to put together a parliamentary majority.

The Socialist leader wants to return at the head of a "progressive" government of centre and radical left and insists he could garner more votes than Feijóo.

READ ALSO: Who is Alberto Núñez Feijóo?


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