Madrid. In his speech to the people of Spain on Christmas Eve, King Felipe, expressed his concern at the country's current political situation, and called for "understanding" that was respectful of the constitution.
The monarch was scrupulously respectful of his role as arbiter by saying that, in the midst of a panorama of uncertainty, and with the formation of the next government dependent on the vote of Catalan left-wing republican party ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalonia), Spain's congress (parliament's lower house) has the last word.
Since King Felipe commissioned Pedro Sánchez to form a government on 11 December, the ball has been in the socialist leader's court. "We are immersed in the constitutional procedure for Congress to grant or deny its confidence in the candidate proposed for the presidency," the monarch remarked.
This is not the first time that monarch's Christmas speech has coincided with an acting government, as it also happened in 2015. On that occasion Felipe called for "dialogue" to solve the problems. Four years on and in view of the complex political situation, he is now calling for "understanding" but always "within the framework of respect for the Constitution".
The king also called for harmony and the strengthening of solidarity, equality and freedom "as the backbone of society".
These values, which constitute the "identity" of today's Spain, cannot be taken for granted "nor can their fragility be forgotten", and therefore "everything possible" must be done to strengthen them and prevent them from deteriorating.