The leader of the conservatives in Spain, Alberto Nunez Feijolost a vote to form a government today, paving the way for Socialist caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to seek a deal with separatist parties to secure a new term.

Feijo failed to secure a majority in a second vote in the 350-member lower house, with 177 MPs voting against his candidacy and 172 in favor, and one invalid vote.

All eyes are now on the socialists’ attempt to form a government. If Sanchez’s efforts also fail, new parliamentary elections will likely be held in January.

Feijo had earlier told MPs he knew he would lose the second vote.

I guess, as expected, I won’t win it. You can call it failure if you want“, said Feijo. He had lost the first vote yesterday, Wednesday.

“Today I will not be able to give you a government, but I have given you assurances and hope,” he added.