Spain’s King Felipe VI is set to nominate a candidate for the Spanish premiership within the next two days. On August 21, he will start to receive the leaders of seven political parties at his official residence, the Palacio de la Zarzuela.
The separatist parties refused to meet with the Head of State. Fugitive Carles Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya, the Catalan separatist left Esquerra Republicana (ERC), the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) and ETA-linked EH Bildu from the Basque Country will not take part in the King’s round of consultations.
The King will meet the leaders of the regionalist parties from Navarra and the Canary Islands, Unión del Pueblo Navarro (UPN) and Coalición Canaria (CC). He will also meet the leader of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the only national regionalist party that agreed to meet the Head of State.
The King will close his first days of consultations with a meeting with Yolanda Díaz, the acting Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and leader of the progressive party Sumar. Díaz will be speaking on behalf of eight left-wing parties, including Unidas Podemos (UP), regional parties from Aragón, the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands.
On August 22, he will meet the three remaining parties. These are the groups with the largest share of parliamentary representation. He will meet first with Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Conservative party Vox and then the acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez from the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). He will conclude the second day by meeting Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the president of the Partido Popular (PP), who topped the recent general election and the party leader with most MPs in Congress.
This is the ninth time King Felipe has held official consultations with the parties. Tradition dictates he will then nominate the official premier.
As of writing, Feijóo has not garnered enough parliamentary support to secure the premiership. The PP has not shown any sign of forgoing the investiture process and intends to try to persuade the King to give its leader the nomination.
A somewhat similar situation occurred in 2016. The King offered to nominate former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, also from the PP. Rajoy won the premiership, after negotiating the abstention of several members from the PSOE.
Pedro Sánchez, who came out second in the July 23 election, managed to secure the Socialists the coveted presidency of Congress. Regardless of who wins the premiership, the PSOE will lead all parliamentary affairs throughout the course of this legislative period.
The move signalled to the King that the PSOE will be able to rally enough support to give Sánchez four more years as Prime Minister, observers say.