“Things usually go wrong for Spanish kings who play politics.” Who will Philip VI appoint as Prime Minister?

He will be in the national spotlight on Monday as he meets the leaders of the political groups represented in Spain’s parliament before deciding who to appoint as the next prime minister.

The task may seem simple, but after last month’s inconclusive elections, none of the party leaders secured the simple majority needed to form a government. This meant that the king had to choose between two main candidates.

Conservative leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo argues that because his People’s Party (PP) won the most votes, it needs the king’s approval to form a government. But the PP has failed to secure the number of parliamentary seats needed to form a government, and even with the support of the far-right Vox party, Feijóo cannot overcome opposition from a majority of Spain’s MPs.

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Alberto Nunez Feijoo

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez appears to be in the best position to stay in office, but it is also unclear whether he has the necessary votes to do so. His left-wing allies control only 171 of the 350 seats in parliament, meaning he needs to get many representatives from the Catalan separatist Junds party to vote for him to form a government.

The Jundt, controlled by former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, conditioned its support for Sanchez on an amnesty for all involved in the failed 2017 Catalan independence referendum and Madrid’s agreement to hold a new referendum on self-determination. Socialists say both demands are out of the question because they violate the Spanish constitution, but separatists refuse to budge.

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