The results of 23-J put the new House, which will be formed on August 17, given the almost impossible practice of appointing a head of government. Depending on the statements of political leaders during the election campaign, both blocs on the left and right can add between 171 and 172 seats, which is insufficient to achieve the absolute majority needed on the first ballot (176). But even in the second vote it is not possible to shed light on an agreement in which the seven Juntes deputies (the key to forming any absolute majority) abstain from one of the two expected candidates: Alberto Nunez Figo and Pedro Sanchez.
What will happen from now on? The calendar contains a few closed dates. The constitution of the courts has a fixed term, but the inauguration process or the conditions before a new electoral call is made depends on some process that can last for weeks or months. Once the election is held on Sunday, these are the remaining steps to consolidate the results and move toward an inauguration if possible:
- Courts constitution. August 17th. The day and hour of the constituent session of the Congress and the Senate are fixed In the decree calling for the 23J elections: On August 17th at 10:00 am. On the same day, the age table is drawn up (with the two youngest and oldest members of parliament), the chamber table is elected, including who will head the councils, and all those elected are sworn in.
- Final audit with CERA vote count. July 28th. The general examination takes place five days after the conclusion of the provisional examination, on election night, to include the so-called CERA vote or Spanish residents abroad. There are 2.3 million potential overseas voters. This count will start at 8 am on July 28th.
- query period. Aug 18th. The King, after receiving notification from the Presidents of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the formation of the two Chambers, may begin the round of consultations with the leaders of the parties with the possibility of governing. Although you can start contacting the parties the day after the Cortes actually meet to make room for the new legislature, there is no start date for consultations or a deadline for ending them.
- Opening of the Legislative Council. in the following 15 days. The Council’s regulations consider that within a period of 15 days after the constituent session, the official inaugural session of the legislature will be held. The king presides over it.
- A candidate standing for office. There is no date or deadline. By the time the king proposes a candidate for prime minister and the chosen one accepts (Mariano Rajoy rejected Felipe VI’s offer in 2016), he has to submit to the approval of the legislature.
- investment session. No estimated date. The President’s parliamentary inauguration begins with the proposed candidate’s speech before Congress, in which he “will present (…) the political program of the government which he intends to form and will ask the confidence of the Assembly.” There is no deadline or date for this act.
- The first vote. The day after the inaugural address. The first vote takes place the day after the speech of the candidate who needs an absolute majority in the House to be invested. If he succeeds, the king names him president. This law is fundamental, as can be read in Article 99.5 of the Spanish Constitution, because it activates the two-month period after which elections must be held.
- Second vote. 48 hours after the first vote. In the event that the proposed candidate does not obtain the support of the absolute majority of the House, this must be committed after 48 hours until the second, in which it is sufficient to obtain a simple majority. This voting process can be repeated, but the term electoral repeat is only deactivated if a subsequent candidate gains the confidence of the House.
- Election call. Two months after the first ballot, an election is held. This is stated in Article 99.5 of the Basic Rule: “If no candidate has obtained the confidence of Congress after the expiration of a period of two months from the first vote for office, the King shall dissolve both Houses and call new elections with the consent of the President of Congress.” This Royal Decree is published in the Bank of England one day after its promulgation. This date is crucial, because the elections will be held in just 54 days.
- elections. 54 days after the call. The law estimates that you must vote 54 days after the electoral subpoena is published. Thus, if no candidate achieves office and the deadlines are the most urgent, the Spaniards will return to vote in at least four or five months, although experts indicate this in six months: that is, in December this year (when they played) or January 2024, in a scenario similar to that of 2019. Until then, Pedro Sanchez’s government will continue in office.
Previously, after the 2015 elections
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The situation is very similar to what happened after the general elections of December 20, 2015, in which the People’s Party won with a clear setback compared to the absolute majority achieved in 2011. Left without that absolute power, the People’s Party could not even add an absolute majority with the only possible ally (then Ciudadanos). This situation prompted Mariano Rajoy to abandon the position proposed to him by King Felipe VI after a round of contacts with all the candidates. Rajoy’s decision led Pedro Sánchez to impeach him, and after he failed to try during the month of March, he began counting the two-month period to call new elections, which took place on June 26, 2016. After those elections, only one of the Socialist deputies abstained, causing a serious split in that party, allowing the government of the Popular Party.
If the situation after the 2015 general election is repeated — the results and statements by various political leaders suggested Sunday night — the election will be called very close to Christmas this year, just six months away.
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