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Cablegate: Formation of the New Spanish Government

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS MADRID 000900

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SP PSOE
SUBJECT: FORMATION OF THE NEW SPANISH GOVERNMENT

REF: MADRID 613

1. (U) Summary. Spain's parliamentary system is flexible on
exact dates for installing governments after a general
election, but given historical timeframes, Socialist leader
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero should be invested as President
of the Government by the end of April or the beginning of
May. End summary.

2. (U) In the aftermath of the March 14 elections, the
process of installing the newly elected Socialist government
will begin on April 2. This is the date when the incoming
members of the Congress of Deputies will choose the President
of the Congress and the members of the "table" (committee),
who will conduct the acts where the Deputies swear their
allegiance to the Constitution. Within 15 days, by April 17,
the President of the Congress will convene the Congress of
Deputies and hold its first session.

3. (U) When Congress is convened, the process of coalition
building begins. At the end of these inter-party
negotiations, the President of the Congress and the King
propose a candidate for the office of President of the
Government. That candidate, who will assuredly be Zapatero,
will then address Congress detailing his political agenda,
and the Congress will vote on his investiture. Although
Zapatero has stated that he will not seek a formal coalition
with other parties, three parties (the United Left, the ERC
(leftist Catalan nationalists), and the Canary Islands
Coalition) have already signaled that they will vote for his
investiture. Their support would insure that Zapatero
receives more than the 176 votes needed for an absolute
majority. There is no required date for an investiture vote.
If for any reason Zapatero would not receive the required
176 votes for an absolute majority, he would return to the
Congress within 48 hours for a second vote, in which he would
only need a simple majority.

4. (U) Once invested, Zapatero will present his government to
the King the following day. This presentation to the King
will be the first official naming of his Ministers and
advisors. With historic timelines as a guide, the new
Socialist government should be officially in power by late
April or early May. Reftel provides further information on
this subject and other details of the Spanish electoral
process.
ARGYROS

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