Spanish king to meet party chiefs in try to avoid 3rd ballot

Spain's King Felipe VI plans to hold a new round of talks with political party leaders in a bid to find one who can muster enough support to form a government before an Oct. 31 deadline.

Parliament Speaker Ana Pastor said Tuesday that the talks would take place Oct. 24-25. If no government is formed by the month's end, Spain will hold its third election in a year.

After two inconclusive elections, the conservative Popular Party has been running a caretaker government for the past nine months. It won both elections but needs other parties' votes, or abstentions in a confidence vote, to form a minority government.

Speculation is rife that the leading opposition Socialist party, whose leader has quit, may abstain in the next vote.