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.
Armenian Parliament elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as the country’s new Prime minister, who received support of 59 members, six more votes more than required.
Pashinyan was the sole candidate for the Prime minister chair, but he could not get the majority in the first sitting, while the ruling coalition still opposed his candidacy. Only after the continuous street protests, they accepted the reality, and admitted their failure. His predecessor, Serzh Sargsyan, resigned after mass protests by the opposition to his decision to become PM after two presidential mandates. The protest actions caused the collapse of the ruling coalition.
The Constitution provides for another session of the National Assembly to elect a new Prime Minister in seven days.
“The European Union reiterates its support to Armenia in its efforts to build a prosperous and democratic society. It remains crucial that all parties involved, including the law enforcement agencies and those exercising their right of freedom of assembly and expression, avoid confrontation and show restraint and responsibility, as has been the case in recent days. The European Union continues to encourage all stakeholders, including civil society, to engage in a comprehensive dialogue, in view of the democratic formation of a new government in accordance with the Constitution and in the interest of all Armenians.”
The Parliament of Armenia will decide whether to elect the opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as the new Prime minister, in a milestone moment for the people.
Although Pashinyan has led weeks of anti-government protests that forced former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to resign, and is the only candidate, he needs a majority of votes from the ruling Republican Party, which is quite an unusual disposition.
Republican Party earlier said it would not put up a candidate in a bid to avoid further escalation It has been at power since 1999.
The unfortunate Prime minister for a some days, Serzh Sargsyan, who had served previously two mandates as President, stepped down on 23 April just days after being sworn in as PM. He had been blamed to break his promise to end his career as a leader after the parliamentary reform, shifting powers to Prime minister.
All 47 opposition members of the Parliament have pledged to vote for Pashinyan, but he will need votes from some Republican Party deputies to win the majority in the 105-seat house. Some experts indicate his might be short of just six ballots.