All eyes are on King Felipe VI of Spain as he prepares to pick a candidate for Prime Minister amid ongoing uncertainty over the country’s political future.
Alberto Núñez Feijóo is gunning to become the King’s pick amid claims his centre-right Partido Popular (PP) has garnered enough support to form a minority government.
The party says it has secured 171 votes, made up of 137 PP MPs, 33 from the Conservative party Vox and one MP from the regionalist centre-right Unión del Pueblo Navarro (UPN): five votes short of a congressional majority.
María Concepción “Cuca” Gamarra, speaker for the PP in the Spanish Congress, reiterated her party’s “availability” to provide the Head of State with a new government. “If the King entrusts the investiture process to the PP and Feijóo – the most voted [for] candidate – we will fulfil our responsibility,” she said.
Gamarra added that Feijóo will meet with Coalición Canaria, the regional party from the Canary Islands, to further secure the PP’s position. “We are looking for an ample agreement with Constitution-abiding forces,” she said.
Feijóo tweeted that the PP has “50 more votes than [Prime Minister] Pedro Sánchez does today”. He said he wanted a government “that gives Spain stability”.
Traditionally, the Head of State nominates the candidate of the party that wins the general election, although the King can in theory also nominate the leader of another party. The Constitution only dictates that “after consulting with the political groups that are represented in Congress, the King will propose a candidate for the premiership”.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist PSOE party has signalled to the sovereign that a Left alliance could also rally enough support to secure a successful investiture.
When the King nominates a candidate, the clock starts ticking; the nomination opens up a two-month period where MPs must choose a new premier.
If the King’s candidate does not receive parliamentary support after two rounds of voting, the Constitution still allows him to nominate a different candidate within that 60-day window.
If no candidate receives the full backing of Congress and the period expires, the King dissolves Parliament and summons Spaniards to another general election.