Following the meetings of the main party leaders with King Felipe, who followed convention by inviting the candidate with the most number of votes to try to form a government, there is now a set date for the first investiture debate of the Spanish government. The President of the Congress, Francina Armengol, announced this Wednesday morning that the sessions will take place on September 26 and 27.
During these sessions, the candidate from the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, will attempt to be elected as the President of the Government. The King proposed the formation of the Government to the conservative Popular Party candidate yesterday after two days of contact rounds with parliamentary groups, with the exception of Esquerra, Junts, EH Bildu, and the BNG, all which declined to participate in the constitutional process, as they are regionalist and separatism focused parties and wish to remain apart from the process under the Spanish constitution.

The candidate currently designated for the position of Prime Minister has accepted the task and, contrary to what was being said prior to this week, has suggested that a nearby date would be too soon due to the lack of time to engage with the other parliamentary groups. These groups will not be officially constituted until Monday. Armengol extended the deadline for group registration until this Friday, and the possibility of a second extension of this deadline has not been ruled out by the Popular Party. Feijóo now believes that the contact rounds cannot begin until the groups are formally constituted, which is planned for next week. The Popular Party has stated that their candidate will attempt to meet with all groups except the Basque nationalists EH Bildu.

The PP leader, from Galicia, has the support of 172 votes following the elections back in July, comprising 137 from his own party, 33 from the ultra-right nationalists Vox, along with one vote each from the central-right regionalists Unión del Pueblo Navarro and the Coalición Canaria. The PP still stand four votes short of an absolute majority and lack any other allies. There is a possibility that he could be elected in the second round of voting, but for this, he would need a simple majority – more “yes” votes than “no” votes. This would require the abstention of some left of centre PSOE, PNV, or Junts deputies. “Politics is the art of achieving what is possible and working on what is possible. This can only be achieved through dialogue and acceptance of those in front of you, not by building walls and fortifications,” stated the general coordinator of the PP, Elías Bendodo, in an interview on Ser radio.

The investiture debate will begin with Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s unlimited-time speech, in which he will present his government program. Throughout the first and second days, the remaining groups will also speak, and the first vote will take place. If, as expected, the PP candidate is not elected with an absolute majority, a second vote will be held 48 hours after the first. In this second vote, Feijóo would require a simple majority to become the President of the Government, and thereby Prime Minister of Spain.  Though technically possible, this is not what is expected to happen.

Additionally, the date of the first vote will be crucial in the event of a potential repeat election. It triggers the countdown of the two months stipulated by the Constitution for the formation of the Government. If no candidate succeeds within that period, the XV Legislature will be dissolved, and the electoral process will begin again.

Constitutionally, with the investiture debate set for September 26 & 27, followed by a vote requiring an absolute majority that does not succeed, it would mean a second vote on September 29 requiring just a simple majority, and if that still does not succeed then a further round of negotiations would begin the first week of October, giving the Cortes until November 27 to elect a new Prime Minister.  If by then no investiture has taken place a new election would be called for January 14 2024.