Spain’s King Felipe signed a decree Tuesday dissolving parliament and setting a new legislative election for June 26 after MPs chosen in an inconclusive December vote failed to agree on the country’s next premier.
The king signed the order in the presence of parliamentary speaker Patxi Lopez after the midnight Monday deadline for installing a new government passed.
“It is the first time that this has happened in the democratic era because we were unable to fulfil the mandate citizens gave us,” Lopez told reporters.
“Let’s hope we’ve all learned our lesson and that the next parliament reaches an agreement (on forming a government) as soon as possible,” he told a news conference.
Lopez said that the 350 MPs elected in the next election will take their parliamentary seats July 19.
Spain has been in a political stalemate, administered by a caretaker government led by conservative Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy, who is hoping for a second term as prime minister. But newcomer parties Podemos and Ciudadanos upset the longstanding dominance of the Popular Party and Socialists in the Dec. 20 election.
No political party won enough seats to form a government and none was able to reach a sufficiently strong coalition deal.
Rajoy’s party came in first in the December vote with 123 seats but lost the majority it held since 2011. Rajoy told the king he wasn’t in a position to be a candidate for premier because he lacked sufficient support.
The king then called on Pedro Sanchez of the second-placed Socialists, with 90 seats, to try. Sanchez struck a deal with centrist Ciudadanos, which had 40 seats, but was unable to convince the far-left Podemos party, which controlled 69 seats, to join him or allow him to govern by abstaining from a confidence vote.
Polls suggest fresh elections may not break the political stalemate, with the results likely to be similar to those of December.