Spain's acting prime minister has met with his Popular Party to plan a strategy after lawmakers rejected his bid to form a minority government for a second time, pushing Spain closer to a third election in a year.

In a meeting on Saturday, leaders of the conservative party reaffirmed their backing of Mariano Rajoy as their candidate and continued blaming the Socialists for the second failed investiture.

Following a failed first attempt to form a government on Wednesday, Rajoy's bid was again voted down on Friday by 180 lawmakers against 170 in favor, as had been expected.

Parliament now has until Oct. 31 to produce a government or a third round of elections will be called, possibly on Christmas Day.