Socialist Pedro Sanchez becomes Prime minister of Spain
Mariano Rajoy, the Prime minister of Spain, whose Partido Popular (People’s Party) has been plagued by corruption scandals, is stepping down after losing a no-confidence vote. Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez will replace him.
The no-confidence motion was initiated by the opposition Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) on Thursday and supported by Catalan parties and the leftist Podemos. With the centrist party Ciudadanos abstaining, Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP) and its allies was left at the mercy of the Basque Nationalist Party and its five crucial votes.
Earlier on Friday, Rajoy conceded defeat to PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez, who will now become prime minister.
Rajoy had refused to step down before the no-confidence vote, and has defended his party in the corruption scandal that has now proven to be his downfall. Last week, dozens of former PP officials were jailed for money laundering and fraud, and the party fined €240,000 over a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme they ran between 1999 and 2006.