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Spanish king announces last-minute talks with political leaders

Move aims to determine whether it is still possible to avert a fresh election in late June

Spanish king Felipe VI will meet with political leaders later this month.
Spanish king Felipe VI will meet with political leaders later this month.Ballesteros (EFE)

King Felipe VI has announced his decision to hold a new round of talks with Spain’s political leaders on April 25 and 26.

It will be the third time that the Spanish monarch meets with the country’s top politicians over the issue of who will be the next prime minister.

On April 21, house speaker Patxi López will hand the king a list of the representatives who will meet with him on the chosen dates.

Following an inconclusive election on December 20, Felipe VI held two rounds of talks and asked two leaders to submit their names for the post of prime minister in a congressional vote.

The first one, Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP), refused to do so, while the second, the Socialist Pedro Sánchez, tried and failed.

Now, with a deadline looming for the dissolution of parliament and a new call to the polling stations, Felipe VI will try to determine if there is another last-minute candidate with enough congressional backing for a successful office run.

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If there is not, a new election will be held on June 26, although polls suggest a similarly fragmented outcome and lower turnout.

Following months of failed cross-party talks, there is little hope that a deal will emerge in time to avert a fresh election. The PP, which holds the most seats in Congress, has failed to attract a single party to form a government. The Socialists managed to close a deal with Ciudadanos, but still require support from a third group. Podemos is refusing to provide this backing, preferring instead a coalition of themselves, the PSOE, United Left and other regional leftist groups.

The deadline for reaching a last-minute deal is May 2. If a nominee does step up, Congress will hold a double vote – one to attempt an overall majority of 176 seats, and failing that another one for a simple majority.

English version by Susana Urra.

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