THE NEW Congress speaker, Francina Armengol, has announced September 26 and 27 as the dates of investiture debates and votes for the Partido Popular’s Alberto Nuñez Feijoo’s bid to become prime minister.

The socialist Armengol revealed the dates on Wednesday after King Felipe nominated Feijoo on Tuesday as the person who should first try to form a government after the PP secured the most votes and seats in July’s general election.

The PSOE socialists under acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez were keen for earlier votes but after Armengol met with Feijoo, she has followed previous timetables in similar scenarios.

The new schedule opens up the possibility of another general election on January 14 if Congress does not give anybody a majority.

Two days of debate will conclude with an investiture vote on September 27 which requires Feijoo to secure an absolute majority of 176 votes.

If he fails- as seems likely- a simple majority will suffice in a second vote two days later, but at the moment he can only muster 172 votes from the PP, Vox, and two small regional parties.

No majority in the second vote, means that a two-month countdown starts from when a general election will have to be called if Pedro Sanchez does not succeed in his attempt to retain power- at the moment he only has 172 votes in his pocket.

That means an election would be called at the end of November, meaning that it will not be held in the run up to Christmas and would also avoid the festive holiday period, resulting in the first ‘clear’ available Sunday being January 14.

It’s also a matter of contention as to whether anybody would want to listen to politicians campaigning around the Three Kings holiday, meaning that an election date could slip further down the January calendar.

It’s been reported that Partido Popular chiefs will start talks with smaller parties from Monday but they face a tough hurdle in getting their support, especially as the far-right Vox party are backing the PP- a grouping that parties from the Basque Country and Catalunya openly resent.

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