Spain: Parliament to start process to elect PM, end impasse

Felipe will finish the meetings Tuesday with Rajoy and will then select a candidate to face two parliamentary confidence votes later in the week.

Socialists opted to abstain in the forthcoming confidence vote rather than keep blocking his bid for a second term.

If the prime minister is not appointed till October 31, the new round of nation-wide elections, which will become the third in 2016, must be held on December 25, on Christmas.

December's election broke the stable two-party system that has ruled Spain since the death of Francisco Franco in the 1970s, and a re-run in June delivered a similar result as new parties grabbed millions of votes in the wake of a deep recession. His People's party won both elections but lacks a parliamentary majority and needs outside support to form a minority government.

Parliament Speaker Ana Pastor said the investiture session would start Wednesday.

1 killed, 3 injured in Pakistan shelling in Jammu
He said three army porters suffered injuries in the shelling in Noushera sector of the district and they have been hospitalised. An Indian soldier was killed on Friday and his body was mutilated by terrorists in an attack near the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rajoy enjoyed an absolute majority in parliament after taking power from the Socialists in 2012, but his popularity was eroded by austerity measures and a series of corruption scandals that tainted the PP.

The committee voted 139 to 96 in favor of the abstention, a decision that should prevent a third election.

Rajoy is supported by 170 of the 350 members of the low chamber, the 137 of his party, 32 of the center-right-wing Ciudadanos and one member of Canary Coalition.

Spain's Socialist party voted Sunday to stop blocking the conservative Popular Party from forming a minority government, setting the stage to end the country's almost 10-month political impasse.

"I will focus on the issues that unite us, setting aside those which divide us, or making an effort to turn them into topics that don't divide us any longer", Rajoy said.

  • Sonia Alvarado