Europe

Spain king signs decree for unprecedented new elections

  • In this April 26, 2016 pool photo, Spain's King Felipe VI waits for the arrival of the leader of Socialist Party, Pedro Sanchez, ahead of their meeting at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. Spain's King has signed a decree Tuesday May 3, 2016 dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26 after deputies elected in an inconclusive December election failed to agree on a new prime minister. (AP Photo/ Angel Diaz, Pool)

    In this April 26, 2016 pool photo, Spain's King Felipe VI waits for the arrival of the leader of Socialist Party, Pedro Sanchez, ahead of their meeting at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. Spain's King has signed a decree Tuesday May 3, 2016 dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26 after deputies elected in an inconclusive December election failed to agree on a new prime minister. (AP Photo/ Angel Diaz, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this April 26, 2016 pool photo, Spain's King Felipe VI speaks with parliament speaker Patxi Lopez, right, during their meeting at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. Spain's King has signed a decree Tuesday May 3, 2016 dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26 after deputies elected in an inconclusive December election failed to agree on a new prime minister. (AP Photo/ Angel Diaz, Pool)

    In this April 26, 2016 pool photo, Spain's King Felipe VI speaks with parliament speaker Patxi Lopez, right, during their meeting at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. Spain's King has signed a decree Tuesday May 3, 2016 dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26 after deputies elected in an inconclusive December election failed to agree on a new prime minister. (AP Photo/ Angel Diaz, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this April 26, 2016 pool photo, Spain's King Felipe VI walks next to parliament speaker Patxi Lopez, right, during their meeting at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. Spain's King has signed a decree Tuesday May 3, 2016 dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26 after deputies elected in an inconclusive December election failed to agree on a new prime minister. (AP Photo/ Angel Diaz, Pool)

    In this April 26, 2016 pool photo, Spain's King Felipe VI walks next to parliament speaker Patxi Lopez, right, during their meeting at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. Spain's King has signed a decree Tuesday May 3, 2016 dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26 after deputies elected in an inconclusive December election failed to agree on a new prime minister. (AP Photo/ Angel Diaz, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

Spain's King Felipe VI has signed a decree dissolving parliament and calling elections for June 26 after deputies elected in an inconclusive December election failed to agree on a new prime minister.

The king signed the decree Tuesday in the presence of parliament speaker Patxi Lopez after the May 2 midnight deadline for installing a new government passed. Spain has never had to repeat elections.

Spain has been in a political stalemate, governed by a caretaker government with conservative Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy as prime minister since Dec. 20, when newcomer parties Podemos and Ciudadanos upset the longstanding dominance of the Popular Party and Socialists.

No political party won enough seats to form a government and none was able to reach a sufficiently strong coalition deal.