EXPLAINER: The role of Spain’s King Felipe in forming new government with political parties seeing monarch next week

KING FELIPE will have two days of discussions next week with the leaders of Spain’s political parties elected to Congress in July’s inconclusive general election.

The aim is to find a person to put forward to go for an investiture vote to try to form a government.

The announcement came on Friday after Felipe met with newly-elected Congress speaker Francina Armengo.

Talks at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid will be held on Monday and Tuesday under article 99 of the constitution which states that if no party gets a majority in the 350-strong Congress, then the monarch has meetings with every grouping.

It is nothing new for King Felipe who went through the same process twice in 2018 when two general elections were held.

He will meet with the smaller parties on Monday and then talk to Pedro Sanchez of the PSOE and Alberto Nuñez Feijoo of the Partido Popular on Tuesday.

To avoid any bias, the monarch works strictly on an appointment list that begins with the party that has the fewest number and culminates with the largest party, which in this case is the PP.

Once the consultations are over, King Felipe will summons the new Congress speaker, Francina Armengo to communicate his proposal for a candidate to be put forward for investiture as prime minister.

There is also the option to wait a while and even have a second round of talks.

While the PP, led by Feijoo, won the most seats in July, it fell short of an outright majority and has so far failed to produce any alliances strong enough to enable it to form a government, despite support from third-placed Vox.

Armengo’s victory as the PSOE candidate for the speaker’s position on Thursday was an indicator that Sanchez appears to have the better chance to win an investiture vote.

Nevertheless as leader of the biggest party, Feijoo has made it clear again on Friday that he would put himself forward and therefore he would get the first shot in the King’s recommendation.

If Feijoo fails to get a 176 absolute majority in a Congress vote, a re-run requiring only a simple majority is held two days later.

If he loses again, then King Felipe would do another round of talks with the parties and would then name Pedro Sanchez as the new candidate.

The same voting procedure would then take place and if Sanchez does not emerge victorious and if nobody gets a majority within two months of the very first vote, then Spain will be plunged again into a general election.

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