King of Spain Felipe VI will start a formal round of talks with political parties next week for the fourth time in a seven-month-old power deadlock, his office said on Thursday. The parties are still struggling to form a coalition administration with a new government to be formed.
According to the EFE news agency, the round will end on July 28, and 14 politicians have already confirmed their participation in the discussions.
Spain’s center-right Popular Party (PP), led by acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, won the most seats in the parliamentary election in June, and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) finished second. But none of the political forces has an absolute majority and thus cannot form a government on their own. Following the elections, Rajoy initiated negotiations to form a government but they didn’t bring any positive result.
Rajoy led the talks with major Spanish political leaders on his own where he presented the future government program but has so far failed to gain support.
The king is widely expected to propose acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as a candidate to try and form a government.
King Felipe will meet the PP, the Socialist Party, the left-wing Unidos Podemos and liberal Ciudadanos on July 28, and the smaller, regional groups, which include Catalan and Basque separatist parties, on July 26 and 27, his schedule showed.
Rajoy on Wednesday edged potentially closer toward forming a government after cutting a deal with his most likely partner, liberal newcomers Ciudadanos, to elect one of his ministers to the post of parliament speaker.
"For my part, I am ready to govern. I'm aware of the responsibility that I have," Rajoy told reporters on Wednesday.
However, such a pact would still fall short of the seats needed to form an administration.
In Spanish law practice, when a party wins fewer than the 176 seats needed to control the lower house of the 350-strong parliament, the king holds talks with all parties across the political spectrum and proposes a candidate to become prime minister. The candidate will then submit a viable proposal for government to a confidence vote in parliament in which they must secure an absolute majority to avoid a second vote 48 hours later.
It has been already organized has already three such consultations by King Felipe since the first election in December. Two of them didn’t end with any reasonable proposals. The third resulted to the nomination of Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez, who did not pass the confidence vote.