If no candidate achieves the support of Congress within two months of the first vote, Parliament is dissolved and new elections are called.
Spain faces the final stretch to try to investiture a president of the Government or start the clock that will lead to an electoral repetition at the end of the year, after the adjusted result emanating from the elections of July 23.
During Monday and Tuesday of this week, King Felipe VI has held a round of consultations with the majority of the parties that have obtained representation in the Congress of Deputies, after four forces have declined to participate: Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG), EH Bildu, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and Junts per Catalunya.
On Monday, the monarch received the Union of the Navarro People (UPN), the Canary Islands Coalition (CC), the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and Sumar at the Palacio de la Zarzuela. While on Tuesday it was the turn of the three formations with the most seats: Vox, the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Popular Party (PP).
The purpose of this round of contacts is to test which political leader would have the most parliamentary support, with the aim of proposing him as a candidate to submit to the investiture.
The uncertain result of the elections means that, for the moment, it is not foreseeable which will be the candidate proposed by the monarch. Alberto Nunez Fejoo it heads the PP, which was the political party that obtained the most votes and the most seats in the elections, but which to date could only obtain the support of 171 or 172 of the 350 seats that make up the lower house.
The other option would be the acting president and socialist candidate, But Sanchezwho, despite leading the second force in number of seats and votes, would have the possibility of exceeding that number of supports if he manages to attract Junts and overcome the barrier of 175, necessary to be appointed president.
Investiture plenary session: the clock starts
The president of Congress, the socialist deputy Francina Armengol, has the power to freely set the date for the plenary session of investiture, after receiving the monarch’s proposal. It is speculated that he could precipitate the date, in case the candidate was Feijoo and delay it in case it was Sanchez, to give him more time to negotiate support.
Before and after the formation of the Chambers 🏛 in the #Constitutive Session a series of steps are followed at the beginning of each Legislature 📜, such as the formation of parliamentary groups, the round of consultations with HM the King or the Investiture Session. 👇 pic.twitter.com/JPLeyt0f3X
– Congress (@Congreso_Es) August 20, 2023
The investiture session will take place over two days in which the candidate must present his government project and request the support of the Chamber. In order to obtain his support, he must reach absolute majority, at least 176 seats. If this were not the case, the vote would be repeated 48 hours later and then it would only be necessary simple majoritythat is, more yeses than noes.
If the candidate does not obtain the confidence of the Chamber, successive proposals will be processed following the same procedure, for which there is a fixed term of two months from the first investiture vote. After that period without any applicant getting the green light from the Hemicycle, the Parliament would be dissolved and the call for new elections 47 days later.
Escaping the Christmas period
It is in the scenario of a possible repetition of the elections that the choice, by the president of the Board, of the date for the investiture session becomes important, since if it took place during the first 20 days of September, it would mean that the call to the polls took place on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve or the day after the Three Kings -January 6, 2024-, also a national holiday.
That first session cannot be convened before August 28, Monday of next week, which is the day the Congress Bureau will certify the list of parliamentary groups and from when plenary sessions can be held. However, it is considered that it would be a very rushed date.
The other option to prevent the election from coinciding with the Christmas holidays, if the last week of August ends up being ruled out, would be to leave the investiture session for the third week of September.
An alternative that should be taken into account, in the event that the king proposes a candidate who declines to submit to the investiture session -as happened with Mariano Rajoy in 2016-, is the call for a new round of contacts with political formations .
In this case, ‘someone’ must undergo an endowment sessioneven though he knows in advance that he will not overcome it, because it is the only way provided by the legislation for the clock to start ticking and the legislature can be unblocked with new elections that end it.
In principle, an attempt is made to avoid the festive dates due to the perception that has always been held that elections should be held on those days. discourages citizen participation and raise abstention.
However, it is a theory that it was denied last month. Despite the fact that a record abstention was predicted because it was the first time that elections were held in the middle of the summer season, with the majority of the population on vacation, rather, participation increased slightly thanks to some historical data of early voting by mail.