One month after the early parliamentary elections in Spain, King Felipe VI. tasked conservative opposition leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo with forming a new government. The Speaker of the Lower House, Francina Armengol, told journalists in Madrid on Tuesday evening that the head of state had informed her of this decision at the end of two-day consultations with various party leaders.
The House of Commons must now set the date for the vote on the candidacy of the 61-year-old politician from the People's Party PP. However, this cannot take place before August 28th. In the first round, the head of state-appointed candidate needs an absolute majority of at least 176 yes votes to become head of government. In the second ballot, a simple majority is sufficient.
As things stand at present, Feijóo has very little chance of being elected by the House of Commons to succeed acting Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. His PP won the election on July 23, clearly ahead of Sánchez's PSOE. However, with 137 seats, it fell short of expectations. His possible coalition partner, the right-wing populist Vox, had also lost 19 seats and now only has 33.
Avoid the dreaded "Bloqueo".
The king was under pressure after his consultations at his residence in the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. He had no specifications for the nomination of the candidate, not even a time frame. But his primary concern was to prevent the much-feared "Bloqueo," a long political blockade. So he made a quick decision shortly after completing his consultations.
If Feijóo's candidacy is rejected in the House of Commons, it would probably be Sánchez's turn after a short time. The media had already given the socialist more chances of achieving a governable majority. In addition to votes from the left-wing alliance Sumar and several smaller regional parties, Sánchez would also need an agreement with the Junts party of exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont. Junts, however, have so far called for an independence referendum, which Sánchez is likely to reject.
After the first candidacy was rejected by the House of Commons, the clock would start ticking: If the country still has no government two months later, new elections must be called. This should take place within the next 47 days. In this case it would probably be around the turn of the year. Quite a few fear a long political stalemate in the fourth largest economy in the European Union, which currently holds the EU Council Presidency.