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Spanish PM Rajoy forced out of office

01 June, 2018, 16:41 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy arrives at parliament before no-confidence motion debate

Sanchez won Friday's no-confidence motion with 180 votes in favor, 169 against and 1 abstention.

Mariano Rajoy has become the first serving Spanish prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote since the country returned to democracy four decades ago as parliament immediately replaced him with Pedro Sanchéz, the Socialist former opposition leader.

Sanchez on Thursday secured the backing of six smaller parties for the motion, giving him the absolute majority he needs to take over from Rajoy.

Ahead of the vote, Rajoy, 63, told the parliament that it had "been an honor to leave Spain better than I found it. Thank you to all Spaniards and good luck".

The no-confidence motion in Rajoy was triggered by a long-running corruption trial involving members of his party. It also ordered the party to pay back €245,000 (US$290,000) received from the scheme to help finance election campaigns.

During Thursday's debate, Rajoy said the corruption case "does not concern members of the government" and repeated the PP's argument that only a tiny number of its politicians have been tainted by corruption.

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

The motion of no confidence was tabled after the PP was implicated in a huge corruption scandal.

However, to pass any measures he will have to rely on the support of two Catalan pro-independence parties, the anti-establishment Podemos and a Basque nationalist group - all who have differing views.

He has also promised to start talks with the Catalans over their bid for independence, but said he will not give them another referendum.

Aitor Esteban, a Basque party MP, warned Mr Sanchez: "Your government will be very complicated, weak and hard".

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