Pedro Sanchéz appointed Spanish PM after Mariano Rajoy is ousted in vote

Geraldine Edwards
June 1, 2018

However, the support of nationalist and leftist parties in Friday's vote does not necessarily mean they will back Sanchez' government, which could lead to a political stalemate in parliament.

There have been three other such votes since Spain returned to democracy following the death of long-time dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, including one against Rajoy previous year.

Mr Sanchéz, 46, the left-wing Socialist leader who initiated the motion, has become Spanish leader in a dramatic comeback, two years after he was ousted as head of his own party.

The no-confidence vote came as Rajoy's conservative People's Party (PP) is enmired in a funding scandal that last week saw 29 people linked to the party, including elected officials, receive heavy sentences while the party itself was fined for operating hidden accounts.

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Spain's Socialist (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez walks with fellow party members Jose Luis Abalos and Adriana Lastras as he arrives at Parliament to attend the final day of a motion of no confidence debate in Madrid, Spain, June 1, 2018.

Ahead of the vote, Rajoy, 63, told the parliament that it had "been an honor to leave Spain better than I found it. Thank you to all Spaniards and good luck".

Rajoy became Spain's first sitting prime minister to give evidence in a trial when he was called as a witness past year, prompting calls for him to resign.

The reputation of Rajoy's Popular Party was badly damaged by a court verdict last week that identified it as a beneficiary of a large kickbacks-for-contracts scheme.

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"The PP has had corrupt people, I acknowledge it, but the PP is not a corrupt party", he said.

He says the corruption accusations concern only a tiny number of politicians and no current members of government.

With the PNV's support, and that of the far-left Podemos and Catalan pro-independence parties, which is all but guaranteed, Rajoy will be forced out and replaced as PM by Sánchez on Friday.

Aitor Esteban, a Basque party MP, warned Mr Sanchez: "Your government will be very complicated, weak and hard".

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