World

Spain Parliament Expels Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Over corruption Scandal

Spain Parliament Expels Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Over corruption Scandal

Sanchez, who became prime minister with only 84 seats for his Socialists in the 350-member assembly thanks to support from the hard-left Podemos and smaller nationalist parties, said he intends to steer the country through to mid-2020 when the parliamentary term ends.

Pedro Sanchez has been sworn in as Spain's new prime minister, bringing his socialist party to power a day after he ousted Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote.

Rajoy told the Spanish parliament that he was proud of his record as prime minister in brief remarks ahead of the vote.

Mr Rajoy has the support of his own People's Party, Ciudadanos and two regional parties, which between them can only muster 169 votes.

Sanchez, until now the head of Spain's largest opposition party, could be sworn in by King Felipe VI as early as Saturday and will appoint his Cabinet over the coming days.

"I promise to faithfully fulfil the duties of the post of prime minister with conscience and honour, with loyalty to the king, and to guard and have guarded the constitution as a fundamental state rule", he said in the presence also of Rajoy, without a Bible or crucifix - the first to do so.

PNV spokesman Aitor Esteban said: "We believe we are responding to what most Basques want and best complying with our responsibility by voting yes to the motion".

It marks a stunning comeback for Sanchez, who was thrown out of the party leadership after two crushing election defeats in 2015 and 2016 but returned to the job past year.

Although Rajoy survived a similar no-confidence vote past year, Friday's ballot draws a line under his rollercoaster time in office which began in 2011 and saw him implementing drastic spending cuts before winning re-election in 2015 and 2016.




He put Spain back onto the path of growth after a devastating economic crisis although unemployment remains sky-high, jobs precarious and many complain inequalities have risen.

And it was another graft scandal that prompted the socialists to table the no-confidence motion after a court said it had uncovered a vast system of bribes given to former PP officials in exchange for lucrative public contracts between 1999 and 2005.

Mr Sanchez becomes Spain's seventh Prime Minister since its return to democracy in the late 1970s following the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

Among them were the party's former treasurer, Mr. Bárcenas, who was sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined about $51.3 million.

And the court questioned the credibility of Mr. Rajoy's court testimony.

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

"Are you Mother Teresa of Calcutta?"

"I'm going to govern from a consensus", Sanchez told reporters as he left parliament, pledging to modernize Spain.


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