• PP leader said he accepts charge of forming gov’t, but lacks support to do so
• No investiture date, Rajoy saying he’ll ‘redouble negotiations’ to win support
Acting Prime-Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) told Spain’s Head of State, King Felipe VI, on Thursday afternoon that although he does not yet have sufficient support from other parties he accepts the responsibility of making the attempt to form a new government and will redouble his efforts to secure the votes needed in Congress to succeed.
Following a meeting at the Zarzuela Palace that lasted slightly more than an hour, Ray told reporters during a press conference at the Moncloa presidential palace that he informed the King that he will “redouble negotiation efforts” with parties that support the Constitutional unity of Spain, principally the Socialist party (PSOE) and centre-right Ciudadanos. He also said that in those negotiations he expected to make concessions aimed at securing sufficient support to be elected Spain’s next prime minister.
But, responding to reporters’ questions, Rajoy declined to fix a date for a Congressional debate or the vote on his investiture bid, saying only that following the new round of negotiations with other parties he would report back to the King as to his ability to form a new government or not.
If he cannot secure additional votes, Rajoy said he is willing to form a minority government relying solely on the 137 seats held by his own party in the 350-member Congress of Deputies, which would require abstentions from the Socialists or Ciudadanos or both parties. Asked repeatedly by reporters, Rajoy refused to rule out that he might decline to launch the investiture process if he feels he does not have sufficient votes or abstentions to enable his election.
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