Pedro Sánchez sworn in as Spain’s prime minister

04 June, 2018, 14:45 | Author: Donnie King
  • Socialist takes over as Spain’s prime minister after corruption scandal | TheHill

On the same day Pedro Sanchez was sworn in, Catalonia's regional government formed a new cabinet.

Mr Rajoy was ousted on Friday over a corruption scandal in his party leaving Mr Sanchez to swoop in and steal the leadership following a vote of no confidence.

The no-confidence motion was brought by Sanchez after a judge sentenced dozens of people linked to the PP to decades in jail in a long-running corruption trial.

Sanchez, who will be Spain's seventh prime minister since the country's return to democracy in the late 1970s, arrives in power after a spectacular turnaround in his political fortunes.

He called on Rajoy to leave office voluntarily rather than face the no confidence vote.

Spain's Socialist (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez waves as he arrives at Parliament to attend the final day of a motion of no confidence debate in Madrid, Spain, June 1, 2018. However, with only 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament, his government will struggle to pass legislation.

A third possibility, an early resignation by Rajoy himself to avoid the embarrassment of being ousted, was rejected Wednesday by the prime minister's office in a statement.

But Anton Losada, a politics professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela who has written a book about Rajoy, said the party may not be completely over.

Rajoy's speech yesterday gained him a standing ovation from his ruling conservative Partido Popular (PP) colleagues. Minutes after narrowly winning a no-confidence vote in parliament, the Socialist party leader signaled a change in tone and priorities from Rajoy's unbending commitment to reducing the national debt during his more than six years as prime minister.

He backed Rajoy's imposition of direct rule on the region after separatist leaders declared Catalan independence. But the hard-left party seems unlikely to gain major influence over Sanchez, who is keen to win back centrist voters.

On Friday, Mr Sanchez successfully persuaded Spanish MPs to back a move to remove ex-PM Mariano Rajoy in the wake of a corruption scandal.

Even then the Socialists were often sidelined as Podemos, centre-right Ciudadanos and Rajoy's PP took centre stage in politics.

He earned a stunning victory to return as leader in May past year when he won an internal party election against Susana Diaz, the candidate anointed by the party's powerbrokers, including former prime ministers Felipe Gonzalez and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

He can try to leverage his position to recharge the Socialists' support, which has been eroded by the rise of both Ciudadanos and the far-left Podemos (We Can), while he picks the most opportune moment to carry through on his pledge to call new elections.

Sanchez led the Socialists to two crushing general election defeats in 2015 and 2016, and was forced out by fellow members - but re-elected him as party head in May 2017.

Sanchez has said that he hopes to govern until the conclusion of the parliamentary-term in 2020.

The parties that supported Sanchez will make demands he will not meet, predicted Pedro Fernandez, a 68-year-old pensioner, outside of parliament.



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