Spain's king is meeting the leaders of the four main political parties in the hope one can form a government and avoid a third election for the country in less than a year, but the outlook is not good.

No party won a majority of seats in the June 26 repeat election. Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party won the most seats but no other group is prepared to back his candidacy for the premiership.

If the king cannot find a candidate able to muster sufficient parliamentary support, Spain could face months more of caretaker government while negotiations continue and a possible third election this fall.

King Felipe VI meets first Thursday with Alberto Rivera of the centrist Ciudadanos party.