After members of his party were found guilty of corruption, the Spanish Parliament moved to oust Mariano Rajoy as Prime Minister of the scandal- rocked government. Opposition and socialist leader Pedro Sanchez will assume the position of Prime Minister.
Sanchez led the motion to unseat Rajoy from his position. The transition in power marked a complete comeback for Sanchez who was likewise ousted by his own party, PSOE, a year ago.
The PSOE staged a coup which removed Sanchez for his refusal to allow Rajoy back into the seat of power after two controversial general elections. The socialists garnered the votes of 180 Members of Parliament (MP).
Despite the contentious history, the transition to power appeared to be a smooth one. Once he had been ousted, Rajoy approached Sanchez and shook his hand. Rajoy then addressed the Parliament:
“It has been an honour to be the Prime Minister of Spain. It has been an honour to leave a better Spain than the one I found. I hope that my successor will be able to say the same when his time comes.
“My thanks to the Spanish people for lending me their support and understanding. And good luck to everyone for the good of Spain.”
Rajoy had previously survived other political scandals in his seven year career as Prime Minister. However, his luck ran out when Spain’s highest court found members of his party had benefited from receiving illegal money in exchange for contracts. This was known as the Gürtel case.
His ouster became imminent when the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) joined forces with the anti-austerity party Podemos. The arrangement created the biggest Catalan pro- independence party which backed the PSOE motion.
Rajoy has now become the first Prime Minister in Spanish political history to be removed from his position through a vote of no- confidence.
The 46- year old Sanchez has promised to schedule elections. However, he maintains that his government needs a few months to focus on social and educational reforms before prioritizing the elections.
Sanchez also extended his support to the Catalan independence parties. He expressed willingness to engage the nationalists in a dialogue in an effort to end the controversial and long-running political crisis.