Spain's government collapses after no confidence vote

Published On: June 1, 2018 03:23 PM NPT By: Agencies

Mariano Rajoy has been ousted as Spain’s prime minister after the country’s parliament voted that it had no confidence in his government.

Rajoy has been replaced by his socialist rival Pedro Sanchez, who has pledged to call fresh elections in the autumn.

The outgoing centre-right prime minister, who has been in office since 2011, was kicked out of office following a series of corruption scandals that rocked his government and led to ministerial resignations.

Sanchez’s centre-left PSOE group was backed by the anti-austerity Podemos group and a constellation of small regional parties in the no confidence vote that brought down Rajoy’s government, which has hobbled on as a minority administration since an election in 2016.  

Under the Spanish system, a no confidence vote must also propose a new prime minister to replace the one being voted out – with Sanchez now set to take the reins.

If Rajoy had survived today’s vote he was expected to face further challenges from other opposition parties hoping to oust him on their own terms.

Polls suggest fresh elections would benefit centre-right liberals Ciudadanos, who had wanted snap elections to take place now rather than later in the year. The liberals, who have gained political ground by staunching opposing Catalan independence, refused to vote for the PSOE motion and were the only major party to back the Partido Popular.

Speaking ahead of the vote, with the numbers against him, Rajoy told the congress of deputies: “Pedro Sánchez will be the prime minister of the government and I want to be the first to congratulate him.

“It has been an honour to be the prime minister of the government of Spain. It has been an honour to leave a better Spain than the one I found. Hopefully my replacement can say the same on his day, I wish it for the good of Spain.”

Incoming PM Sanchez said: “Today, democracy has won.” He added: “A new era in Spanish politics is beginning. I am reaching out to all the parliamentary groups to open these new times and I hope that we are all up to the responsibilities that we have ahead of us.”

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