Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Pedro Sanchez sworn in as Spain´s prime minister

Pedro Sanchez sworn in as Spain´s prime minister

The 46-year-old former professor of Economics has an arduous task ahead of him as he seeks to allay financial market fears about political instability, as well as resolve a bitter dispute with Catalan nationalists, who declared independence after a referendum in 2017. His government will depend on the support of the far-left Podemos (We Can) party and of a motley crew of regional parties and Catalan secessionists to get anything done in government.

That move was sparked by fury over a corruption scandal that struck Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP).

"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 without a Bible or crucifix - the first to do so. A new fiscal policy and the extension of welfare rights are also part of his agenda within the PSOE.Academic and politician - The 46-year-old leader of the second-biggest party after Rajoy's conservatives first joined the PSOE in 1993, worked as a political adviser in the European Parliament and at the United Nations during the Kosovo war.

Rajoy attended Saturday's ceremony in the royal Zarzuela Palace and shook Sanchez's hand after the new leader was sworn in by King Felipe VI.

If he wins, Sanchez would take over from Rajoy immediately and possibly be sworn in as early as next Monday.

Critics had long pointed to the grey-bearded, bespectacled 63-year-old as a leader who governs by sitting back - or going on one of his much-loved power walks - and waiting for whichever storm is lashing Spain to blow over. It includes substantial benefits for the Basque nationalists whose promised votes in the no-confidence debate opened the door for Sanchez to oust Rajoy.

However, his position had become increasingly untenable, undermined by scandals encircling his party as well as a divisive independence drive in the wealthy region of Catalonia, which led Madrid to impose direct rule on the region last autumn.

But he softened his tone as Catalan separatist lawmakers in the national parliament backed his no-confidence motion.

Sanchez said he wants to talk to separatist groups, but rejects the idea for an independent Catalonia.

Sanchez will also have to restore public trust in the government.

His arrival at the prime minister's office crowns an astounding comeback. He was replaced immediately yesterday by Pedro Sánchez, the Socialist leader.

It was the sweetest of victories - Mr Rajoy beat his Socialist rival twice in elections in 2015 and...

Sanchez and his Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) were the initiators of the no-confidence motion which passed on Friday by 180 - 169, with one abstaining.

Sanchez said on Thursday he would stick to the budget put forward by Rajoy and approved by parliament last month if voted into power.

Meanwhile, he will have to deal with the opposition of the 137 PP deputies in Congress as well as the 32 members of the center-right party Ciudadanos who voted against Sanchez' no-confidence vote on Friday.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will head up a minority government. "This is just about Mr Sanchez's ambitions", he said.

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