The date is the deadline for forming a new coalition government. King Felipe has the task on Oct 24 and 25 of forging an agreement between the parties. If the negotiations are unsuccessful, the country will have to hold another election - its third in less than a year - by the end of 2016.
Spanish lawmakers have rejected multiple bids by caretaker prime minister Mariano Rajoy to form a coalition, and it will be up to the king to break the deadlock.
Spain, a country that has experienced relatively stable governments in recent years, has been roiled by the emergence of Ciudadanos and Podemos. The two parties have won parliamentary seats, making coalition-building necessary, and ending the domination of the two traditional parties. The parliamentarians have been unable to find the compromises necessary to build coalitions.
Date written/update: 2016-10-12