Netizen 24 IRL: Spain's parliament votes to oust prime minister Mariano Rajoy

Diposting oleh On 03.16

Spain's parliament votes to oust prime minister Mariano Rajoy

The leader of Spanish Socialist party Pedro Sanchez became prime minister on Friday after centre-right politician Mariano Rajoy was voted out of office.

The move follows a closely fought no-confidence motion in the parliament triggered by a long-running corruption trial linked to Mr Rajoy’s centre-right People’s Party (PP).

The motion, called by Mr Sanchez, was backed by 180 MPs with 169 voting against and one abstaining. Mr Sanchez is expected to take office by Monday and his cabinet appointed next week.

Mr Rajoy had been prime minister for six years and his departue marks the first removal of a serving leader by the parliament in Madrid in four decades of democracy following the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

The development casts one of the European Union’s four largest economies into an uncertain political landscape, just as another - Italy - pulled back from early elections. However, with most Spanish parties and Mr Sanchez himself being pro-European, investors see less broader political risk there than in Italy.

Mr Sanchez had the backing of the anti-establishment group Podemos and some Catalan separatists in what Mr Rajoy has derided as a “Frankenstein coalition”. The incumbent has promised to start talks with the Catalans but said he will not give them an independence referendum.

Corruption trial

The Basque Nationalist Party, whose five seats were key to Sanchez securing enough parliamentary backing, withdrew support from Mr Rajoy after dozens of people linked to his centre-right People’s Party were sentenced to decades in jail in a corruption trial.

Market-friendly Ciudadanos, leading in the national opinion polls, was the only major party that supported Mr Rajoy.

The Socialist suggested on Thursday that he would try to govern until the scheduled end of the parliamentary term in mid-2020. However, it is unclear how long his administration, with only 84 Socialist deputies in the 350-member legislative assembly, can last.

Mr Rajoy conceded defeat as he delivered a short speech to parliament on Friday before the vote.

“Mr Sanchez will be the head of the government and let me be the first to congratulate him,” he said. “I will accept as a democrat the result of the vote as it is well-known, I can’t agree with what has been done.”

Mr Rajoy said there was no greater honor than being prime minister of Spain and congratulated Mr Sanchez, who repaid the compliment, wishing Mr Rajoy all the best and saying he would have his respect as a former premier.

Emergencies

Mr Sanchez says it is time to stabilise Spain and address what he described as social emergencies. His new government would be sensitive to gender and environmental issues and seek to build democracy with “exemplary institutions,” he said.

He has already committed to respecting a budget passed by Mr Rajoy, and the fragmented parliament means he will find it hard to row back on structural reforms passed by his predecessor, including new labour laws and cuts in healthcare and education.

Leftist Podemos 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. - Reuters/Bloomberg

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