Alberto Nunez-Feijoo's bid to become Spain's next prime minister was rejected by lawmakers on Friday, with the right-wing opposition leader lacking the support to pass a second and final parliamentary vote.

It opens the way for outgoing Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to try his own hand at an identical vote, for which he will need support from a hardline Catalan separatist party cast in the role of kingmaker.

If Sanchez fails, Spain will be forced to hold a new election, likely in mid-January.