Spanish King Calls for Nat’l Unity

Spanish King Calls for Nat’l UnitySpanish King Calls for Nat’l Unity

King Felipe VI of Spain has appealed for unity and dialogue in his Christmas Eve message after elections at the weekend produced no conclusive result. He called for “understanding and a fraternal spirit” to end uncertainty.

The king also called for “national cohesion” in what correspondents say could be criticism of separatists in Catalonia.

The king has a high opinion poll rating since taking over from his father Juan Carlos in June 2014, BBC reported.

Next month he will hold discussions with the leaders of each party that won seats in parliament.

“Political plurality, expressed at the ballot box, without a doubt offers different sensitivities, visions and perspectives; and it involves a way of exercising politics based on dialogue, consensus and commitment,” the king said in a televised holiday message.

“Now, what should matter to all, first and foremost, is Spain and the general interest of the Spanish people,” the monarch said.

In what some see as an appeal for Spain to remain a unitary state, he said: “I sincerely believe that we are living today in times where it is more necessary than ever to recognize everything that unites us.”

His intervention comes after Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy compete to form the next government.

Rajoy’s Popular Party won Sunday’s vote but is 53 seats short of an absolute majority in the 350-seat chamber.

For decades, the Socialists and PP have alternated in government but the rise of two new parties, the left-wing Podemos (We Can) and liberal Ciudadanos (Citizens), has left Spanish politics fragmented.

When Spain’s Parliament reconvenes in January, King Felipe will ask a party leader to form a government and MPs will vote on his nomination. If they fail to elect a government within two months, fresh elections will follow.