Europe

King meets party chiefs as Spain's gov't impasse nears end

Spain's King Felipe VI is starting talks with political party leaders before he is expected to call on conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to try to form a government and end a near 10-month political deadlock.

Rajoy has all but secured the position after the rival Socialist party voted Sunday to end its stance of rejecting his bid and abstain in a parliamentary vote expected soon.

Two inconclusive elections since last December have left Rajoy in charge of a caretaker government. His Popular Party won both elections, but lacks a majority in Parliament and needs outside backing to form a minority government.

Felipe began the meetings Monday and will finish the round Tuesday with Rajoy. Barring a major upset, Rajoy will be elected premier within a week.