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Spanish PM faces defeat in no-confidence motion

01 June, 2018, 22:13 | Author: Sara Gill
  • Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez during the debate on Thursday

Mr Sánchez, the former leader of the opposition, took over power today after Mariano Rajoy became the first serving Spanish prime minister to be ousted in a confidence vote since the country returned to democracy in 1978.

Spain's Socialist (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez addresses Parliament during the final day of a no-confidence debate in the leadership of Mariano Rajoy, Madrid, Spain, June 1, 2018.

Sanchez faces a tough time catering to demands from small parties whose votes he captured in the no-confidence motion, among them Catalan separatists.

Lawmakers stood and cheered as Sanchez - who had earlier promised to try to steer the country through to mid-2020 when the parliamentary term ends - became the country's seventh head of government since its return to democracy in the late 1970s.

Mr Sánchez has called on Mr Rajoy to step down ahead of the vote but senior officials from Mr Rajoy's People's Party (PP) insist he will not resign.

"Handsome", filed the motion to force Rajoy out of office, after the then-prime minister's conservative Popular Party (PP) was embroiled in a corruption scandal.

The results were 180 for, 169 against and one abstention.

The outgoing premier conceded defeat prior to the no-confidence vote, congratulating Sanchez and telling deputies in a short, gracious speech: "It has been an honour to have left Spain in a better state than I found it". Spain's King Felipe VI still has to swear him in.


Last week the National Court, which deals with major criminal cases, sentenced 29 people with links to the PP, including a former treasurer, to a total of 351 years in jail.

Sánchez, whose nickname locally is "Mr".

It also ordered the party to pay back 245 000 euros ($290 000) received from the scheme to help finance election campaigns.

But it is unclear how long his administration, with only 84 Socialist deputies in the 350-member legislative assembly, can last.

Leftist Podemos, which will offer parliamentary support to Sanchez's government, is also unlikely to gain big influence over the new prime minister, who is keen to differentiate his Socialist party from its anti-austerity ally and win back centrist voters.

The party holds a crucial five seats in parliament and has already informed both leaders of its intentions, according to Basque newspaper El Correo.

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

"Are you Mother Teresa of Calcutta?"

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