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Spain's King Asks Rajoy to Form New Government

FILE - Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy attends the Spanish parliament in Madrid, July 19, 2016.

Spain's King Felipe has asked acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to try to form a government after the second inconclusive election in six months.

Rajoy accepted the mandate Thursday, but warned he might fail if opposition parties again refused to back him.

His conservative Popular Party (PP) lost its absolute majority in December's election but remains the country's biggest party. It won the June 26 vote with 137 seats out of 350, but still failed to achieve an absolute majority.

Spain could face months more of caretaker government under Rajoy pending negotiations and a possible third election this fall.

The leader of Spain's next government requires either a majority of parliamentary votes or, if that threshold is unattainable, more votes cast in favor than against in a second vote.

As the situation stands, Rajoy would lose in both scenarios, because opposition parties are committed to vote against him, not merely abstain. A minority government could be formed if other parties agree to abstain, rather than vote actively against the proposed prime minister.