As it happened: Pedro Sánchez becomes new Spanish prime minister
No-confidence motion triumphs, with deputies in Congress casting 180 votes in favor of the ouster of Mariano Rajoy, with 169 votes against and one abstention
Spanish Congress has just conducted a historic no-confidence vote that has removed Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy from office.
This is the first time in Spanish democratic history that a head of government has been ousted. Rajoy, 63, refused to step down ahead of the vote, saying he had the trust of the people who voted for him at the 2016 election.
Rajoy is being replaced by Socialist (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez, whose 84 seats were insufficient for the majority of 176 required in the 350-seat house. This forced the PSOE to seek support from a range of other parties, including regional nationalists in the Basque Country and Catalonia.
The motion was successful after 180 deputies voted to unseat Rajoy.
The no-confidence motion was filed by the main opposition Socialist Party (PSOE) last week in the wake of a court ruling in a sweeping corruption scheme known as Gürtel. Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP) was fined for having benefited from the kickbacks-for-contracts network.
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And a profile of new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez:
A tweet from the leader of center-right party Ciudadanos.
"Sánchez has consumated his pact with all of the seperatists and populists to be prime minister at any cost. Rajoy could have avoided it but he didn't. [Ciudadanos] will be a strong opposition and we will defend the union and equality of all Spaniards in the face of those who want to liquidate our nation."
Podemos chief Pablo Iglesias tweets:
"The government in B is out [a reference to undeclared funds.] There's a sense of satisfaction, but we are well aware that this is just the first step. We will continue to work with enthusiasm for a Spain that is caring and excludes no one. YES WE CAN"
Tweet from Rajoy:
"I'm proud to have been your prime minister. I did everything possible and everything necessary to leave things better than how I found them. And together we have acheived it. The decisions weren't always easy, but all have served to defend #Spain. Thanks to all Spaniards. MR."
Rajoy's speech in Congress this morning, when he admitted defeat ahead of the no-confidence vote.
"It has been an honor to be prime minister of the government of Spain. Thank you to you all. I hope that my replacement will be able to say the same when the moment comes."
Tweet from La Moncloa prime ministerial palace.
Members of anti-austerity party Podemos chant "yes, we can" outside Congress after supporting the no-confidence motion against Mariano Rajoy
Various representatives from the party celebrated the ouster on Twitter:
"Today the seagulls don't fly. Today is a day to sing and dance," wrote Pablo Echenique.
Worth pointing out that the reference to "M. Rajoy" in the Podemos and Junts per Catalunya tweets below is no doubt a nod to the appearance of "M. Rajoy" on the ledgers kept by former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, who was last week sentenced to a lengthy jail term for his role in the Gürtel scandal.
Rajoy denied having received cash payments, but in their Gürtel ruling last week the judges in charge of the case said that the prime minister's testimony "lacked credibility."
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One of the key images from yesterday's no-confidence debate: Mariano Rajoy's chair in Congress, left empty while the prime minister dined in a Madrid restaurant, occupied by the deputy prime minister's handbag.
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"It has been an honor to be prime minister of the government and leave Spain better than I found it. Thank you to everyone and a special thanks to the people of Spain and the Popular Party. Good luck to everyone for the good of Spain," parting message from former Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy
Mariano Rajoy's time as prime minister, in photos: (Spanish captions)