Spanish PM Rajoy forced out of office

Socialist takes over as Spain’s prime minister after corruption scandal | TheHill

Socialist takes over as Spain’s prime minister after corruption scandal | TheHill

Fast forward to Friday: Sanchez is set to become the leader of the eurozone's fourth leading economy after completing an audacious bid to oust conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy from power in a no-confidence vote.

Rajoy became Spain's first sitting prime minister to give evidence in a trial when he was called as a witness previous year, prompting calls for him to resign.

Rajoy's no-confidence vote in parliament was prompted by a corruption trial that has involved multiple members of his center-right party, and his departure puts Spain into a precarious political landscape, according to NBC News.

In this December 22, 2017 photo, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy leaves after a news conference in Madrid, Spain.

Sanchez, who is expected to be sworn in by Monday and appoint his cabinet next week, has promised to start talks with the Catalans but has said he will not give the region an independence referendum.

He is the first Spanish prime minister to lose such a vote since Spain transitioned to democracy in 1977.

Anger with corruption allowed Sanchez to win Friday's no-confidence motion by 180 votes to 169, with one abstention.

Aitor Esteban of the Basque PNV nationalist party, whose support proved decisive for the motion's success, said Thursday such a minority government would be "weak and hard, complicated".

In order to push through the no-confidence motion, the Socialists, who hold just 84 of the parliament's 350 seats, have had to cosy up to parties they have previously clashed with, like Catalan separatists and the anti-establishment Podemos.

But his term in office was also marred by a series of corruption scandals involving former PP members.

After the vote result was announced, members of Podemos smiled and hugged each other before bursting into a chant of "Yes, we can" - the slogan of their party, a product of the widespread anger at spending cuts imposed by Rajoy's first government at the height of the euro zone crisis.

Sanchez has pledged to call a fresh election if the motion succeeds but only after governing long enough to restore "institutional stability". Dozens of people tied to his party have been sentenced to years in prison.

It also ordered the party to pay back 245,000 euros ($290,000) received from the scheme to help finance election campaigns.

Sanchez told reporters in Madrid that he was "aware of the responsibility and the complex political moment of our country".

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