Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Spain PM admits defeat ahead of no-confidence vote

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy addressing Congress Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy addressing Congress. Javier Lizón EFE
Faye Gross | 02 June, 2018, 20:30

Although the parliament voted 180-169 on Friday to replace Mr Rajoy's government with one led by Mr Sanchez, the Socialists have just 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament.

Rajoy accepted his fate ahead of the vote, telling ministers it had been "an honor to leave a better Spain than I found".

Sanchez, until now the head of Spain's largest opposition party, could be sworn in by King Felipe VI as early as Saturday and will appoint his Cabinet over the coming days.

Sanchez will only be able to implement policy initiatives "that allow him to obtain an easy majority" in parliament, said Fernando Vallespin, political scientist at the Autonomous University of Madrid.

It is the first time a serving leader in Spain has been removed by the parliament in Madrid in four decades of democracy.

The incoming leader has also vowed to fight corruption and help Spaniards affected by years of public spending cuts under Rajoy's government.

He was ousted by his own party's heavyweights in 2016 over back-to-back losses in general elections and after he tried to block Rajoy's bid to form a government. Sanchez and his party are staunch supporters of the European Union and the euro currency shared by 19 European Union nations.

Rajoy became Spain's first sitting prime minister to give evidence at trial when he was called as a witness previous year.

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.

Takeaways from Dara Khosrowshahi's Interview at the Code Technology Conference
The emergency button is part of a new "safety center" menu created to help passengers if something goes wrong during their trip. The company revealed a "flying car" concept aircraft at its second annual Uber Elevate Summit earlier this month.


But NBC News notes that it's not clear how long the former Economics professor's administration can last.

Leftist Podemos, which will offer parliamentary support to Mr 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.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, has full confidence in the new Spanish government, a spokeswoman said at a daily press briefing on Friday.

Rajoy imposed direct rule on the region in October after sacking its government following an independence referendum that Spanish courts declared illegal.

Sanchez not only inherits Spain's worst political crisis in almost four decades.

On Thursday, Sanchez said he would attempt to govern until the end of the current parliamentary term in 2020.

The members of Catalonia's former government are to be tried on charges including rebellion.

He has also said he wants to "build bridges" with Catalonia's new separatist government, headed by Quim Torra, which will take office on Saturday at the same time that Sanchez takes his oath of office.

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