Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez : Spain’s New Prime Minister

         A no-confidence vote in parliament unseats Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government in Spain. Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez has sworn in as Spain’s New Prime Minister. The sudden change happened after a no-confidence vote in parliament on Friday. The cabinet would be decided next week.

This brings to an end to Rajoy’s more than six year term as Prime Minister. It is historically significant because in Spain’s timeline of democracy, it is the first time that an ouster takes place of a serving leader by Parliament. This exit was the result of a 

court verdict last week that found guilty of  Rajoy’s Popular party as a beneficiary of large kick-backs in granting contracts.  Sanchez sighted this as a good opportunity and took advantage of it and has garnered enough backing from smaller parties to attain power.

According to Spanish law, to avoid a power vacuum after no-confidence-motion it makes the motions author the country’s new leader. This paved way for Sanchez (46) to become the seventh PM. Spain returned to democracy in the 1970’s. Sanchez during 2016 elections was ousted by bigwigs in his 


own party in an attempt to foil Rajoy’s attempt to form a government.

Sanchez is a former economics professor.  He took charge of the Socialist leadership last year. He had earlier said that his priorities will be social issues before declaring elections.

Another interesting fact is that Mr. Sanchez who is an atheist took the oath to protest the Spanish constitution without a bible or crucifix after the country took the democratic path in 1977.    His socialist PSOE Party only has quarter of seats in parliament and rest of the required numbers comes from the six other parties in the parliament.

Mr. Sanchez said he would execute his duties “with conscience and honour, with loyalty to the king, and to guard and to have guarded 

the constitution as a fundamental state rule”. Some political  commentators are of the opinion that lack of majority in parliament will make legislation a herculean task for Sanchez.

Spain in recent time went through a tumultuous political development like Catalan Independence referendum which was not recognized by Spanish government.

Immediately after his swearing in, Catalan leader Quim Torra opined that their government would press for independence from Spain. The pro-independence government of that region was also sworn in the same day when Pedro Sanchez took his oath. Autonomy to Catalonia was suspended immediately after Catalonia unilaterally declared independence and court declaring it illegal.                                 Bonnie Basil












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