Conservative Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the center-right Popular Party has been forced out of office on Friday, June 1st, after a vote of no-confidence by the lower house of the national parliament, the Congress of Deputies, based in Madrid. Pedro Sanchez, leader of the center-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party who advocated for other members of parliament and other political parties in the opposition, will become the Iberian country’s head of government after almost 7 years of conservative rule under Rajoy and the Popular Party.
Rajoy is the first prime minister in recent Spanish history to be removed from power through a no-confidence motion in parliament after he failed to take personal responsibility for his own political party’s scandal in which his former aide was charged for corruption. These particular corruption charges have included receiving bribes, tax laundering, running slush funds to help with financing the Popular Party’s election campaigns, and other tax crimes.
Prime Minister Sanchez, whose new government majority is being supported by a confidence and supply electoral alliance composed of regional nationalist parties based in areas such as Catalonia and Basque Country as well as the left-wing party Podemos, which is often seen as a progressive anti-establishment alternative to Sanchez’s social democratic party that has often been one of the two major parties governing the country after the Franco era. Sanchez not only faces obstacles forming a government with these political parties, but he also will encounter challenges on how to combat corruption and deal with rising regional nationalists sentiments in regions that aim to seek further autonomy or independence from the kingdom such as Catalonia.
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