Spain’s King Felipe VI selected Alberto Nuñez Feijóo from the Partido Popular (PP) as his candidate for the Spanish premiership.
After two days of consultations with the leaders of the major political parties, the Head of State ultimately decided on the candidate of the most voted-for party.
Socialist Francina Armengol, the recently elected President of Congress, announced the King’s decision on the evening of August 22. She said she would help facilitate negotiations between the different groups in the Spanish Parliament.
After her statement, she called Feijóo to start discussing potential dates for an investiture debate. Analysts point that she might be willing to give the PP leader further time to secure enough MPs to take the premiership.
Feijóo, who met Felipe VI just hours before the announcement, welcomed the King’s decision, saying he will “defend equality amongst all Spaniards”.
Agradezco a S.M. el Rey su decisión de nombrarme candidato a la Presidencia del Gobierno.
Daremos voz a los más de 11 millones de ciudadanos que quieren cambio, estabilidad y moderación con un Gobierno que defienda la igualdad de todos los españoles. pic.twitter.com/fLqCBiZoir
— Alberto Núñez Feijóo (@NunezFeijoo) August 22, 2023
“I thank HM the King for his decision to nominate me as candidate for Prime Minister,” he tweeted moments after Armengol broke the news. “We will give a voice for the more than 11 million citizens that want change, stability, and moderation,” he added.
The Royal Household also published an official statement: “The representative of the Partido Popular has shown his willingness to his Majesty the King to become his candidate for the investiture process.”
Comunicado de la Casa de Su Majestad el Rey.
— Casa de S.M. el Rey (@CasaReal) August 22, 2023
The King’s statement reaffirmed the monarchy’s tradition to “initially” nominate the candidate who won the general election. “The Partido Popular is the political group that received the largest number of seats in parliament.”
The Royal Household noted that if Feijóo does not receive the Congress’ backing, the King will submit a new proposal to parliament.
Earlier on the day of the announcement, Feijóo told the King his candidacy would be based on the “defence of the Constitution and the restoration of independence to Spanish institutions.” Feijóo also claimed he is only four MPs short of securing a majority to become premier.
The PP has already reached agreements with the regional parties of Navarre and the Canary Islands, Unión del Pueblo Navarro (UPN) and Coalición Canaria (CC), respectively.
Regarding the Vox party, after weeks of tense exchanges, Feijóo said differences had been overcome. The conservative party is ready to give the PP the active favourable vote of its 33 MPs. Vox leader Santiago Abascal confirmed the decision.
Observers say Feijóo might try to court the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) again in a bid to hit the absolute majority, or at least their abstention to form a minority government.
Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez from the Spanish Socialist Party has not yet reacted to the King’s decision. He had said he “would respect” whatever course of action the Head of State might take.