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Spain's new Prime Minister sworn in

04 June, 2018, 14:43 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Socialist takes over as Spain’s prime minister after corruption scandal | TheHill

"The PP has had corrupt people, I acknowledge it but the PP is not a corrupt party", he said, hitting back at the Socialists, who have also been tainted by scandal over the years.

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.

Socialist party head Sanchez becomes Spain's seventh prime minister since its return to democracy in the late 1970s following the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In his first comments after winning the no-confidence motion, Mr Sanchez, a former basketball player, vowed to tackle "all the challenges which the country faces with humility".

Socialist Pedro Sanchez's arrival to power in Spain has brought a glimmer of hope that icy ties will thaw between Madrid and Catalan separatists, who are wary of the new leader but happy that veteran conservative Mariano Rajoy has gone.

Sanchez has set himself apart from Rajoy's confrontational stance with separatists in Catalonia, Spain's wealthiest region, where the Catalan government is making a noisy new push for independence.

Sanchez was sworn in by King Felipe VI at the royal residence at the Palacio de a Zarzuela on Saturday morning.

The inauguration marks the end of an unprecedent episode in modern Spanish history, which saw a serving prime minister fail to secure the confidence of parliament for the first time since Spain's transition to democracy in 1977.

"Rajoy might survive for a while, because it's very hard that the other parties can come to an agreement to remove him", said Andrew Dowling, an expert in Spanish politics at Cardiff University in Wales.

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Since Rajoy came to power in 2011, ties between Madrid and Barcelona have consistently worsened.

Rajoy lost the vote after six years in office, following corruption convictions last week involving former members of his center-right Popular Party.

But his strong pro-European credentials, and the fact that Rajoy also ran a minority government, suggest fallout from any political ructions in one of the euro zone's fast-growing economies is likely to be limited. There were 180 votes in favour, 169 against and one abstention.

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

In October 2016, Mr Sanchez looked finished.

"Today, finally, we are sending the Popular Party home", said Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, who called for Sanchez to implement an ambitious social agenda and to undo years of austerity measures by the conservatives.

Sanchez plans to see out the remaining two years of the parliamentary term.

Referring to Mariano Rajoy's outgoing government, Mr Rivera told reporters that "we had to censure this government, but not in this way". He was replaced immediately yesterday by Pedro Sánchez, the Socialist leader.

During Thursday's pre-vote debate, Rajoy said the corruption case "does not concern members of the government" and repeated the party's argument that only a tiny number of its politicians have been tainted by corruption.


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