Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy forced out of office

Jun 02, 2018, 08:52 IST | IANS

Parliament passes vote of no confidence against ruling People's party over a corruption scandal

Pedro Sanchez (left) shakes hands with out-going PM Mariano Rajoy
Pedro Sanchez (left) shakes hands with out-going PM Mariano Rajoy

Socialist Pedro Sanchez took over as Spain's prime minister yesterday, after outgoing leader Mariano Rajoy lost a parliamentary confidence vote triggered by a long-running corruption trial involving members of his centre-right party. 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.

But, Rajoy's departure after six years in office casts one of the European Union's top four economies into an uncertain political landscape, just as another — Italy — pulled back from early elections. Sanchez won yesterday's no-confidence motion with 180 votes in favour, 169 against and one abstention.

He suggested on Thursday he would try to govern until the scheduled end of the parliamentary term in mid-2020. But, it's unclear how long his administration, with only 84 Socialist deputies in the 350-member legislative assembly, can last. With most Spanish parties and Sanchez himself being pro-European, investors however see less broader political risk there than in Italy.

Anti-establishment parties in Rome revived coalition plans on Thursday, ending three months of turmoil by announcing a government that promises to increase spending, challenge EU fiscal rules and crack down on immigration.

Madrid gives nod to new Catalan govt
Spain gave its green light to a new separatist executive in Catalonia that does not include jailed or exiled former ministers, paving the way for Madrid to end direct rule over the region. The government last month recognised the powers of newly-elected Catalan president Quim Torra, but refused to ratify his choice of councillors because four of them face charges linked to a failed independence drive, calling their nomination "a new provocation".

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