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Spain to hold debate in hopes of forming a new government after 8-month impasse

A police officer stands guard in front of the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. Spain's acting Premier Mariano Rajoy is to start a two-day parliamentary debate later Tuesday ahead of a vote on his bid to form a minority government and end an eight-month political impasse, but the signs are he won't be successful. If he fails, he has another chance Friday when he only needs more votes in favor than against, but nothing indicates he can win that either. (AP Photo/Paul White)

A police officer stands guard in front of the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. Spain's acting Premier Mariano Rajoy is to start a two-day parliamentary debate later Tuesday ahead of a vote on his bid to form a minority government and end an eight-month political impasse, but the signs are he won't be successful. If he fails, he has another chance Friday when he only needs more votes in favor than against, but nothing indicates he can win that either. (AP Photo/Paul White)

Spain's acting prime minister is opening a two-day parliamentary debate in hopes of forming a new government and ending an eight-month impasse, but expectations of a breakthrough are running low.

Mariano Rajoy is expected to argue Tuesday that Spain desperately needs a government, not a third election, following two inconclusive elections since December.

To win a new leadership term, Rajoy needs an absolute majority of support from lawmakers in the 350-seat chamber in Wednesday's planned vote. He currently has 170 deputies backing him, six votes short.

Should he fail to garner the needed votes, Rajoy still could prevail in a second vote Friday — if the opposition Socialists abstain from the vote rather than reject him outright. Socialists remain publicly committed to blocking his return to power.

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