Spain’s Rajoy forced out as arch-rival takes over
Spain’s parliament on Friday ousted Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote sparked by fury over his party’s corruption woes, with his Socialist arch-rival Pedro Sanchez automatically taking over.
An absolute majority of 180 lawmakers voted for the motion to loud applause and shouts of “Yes we can,” converting Rajoy into the first prime minister to be ousted by such a vote since 1977.
The bespectacled 63-year-old leader got up and shook hands with Sanchez before leaving the lower house without a word.
Rajoy had already admitted defeat minutes before the vote, knowing that an absolute majority of lawmakers as diverse as Catalan separatists and Basque nationalists had pledged their support for the no-confidence motion.
“It’s been an honor – there is none bigger – to have been Spain’s prime minister,” he told parliament.
Sanchez, Spain’s 46-year-old opposition leader, had instigated the no-confidence motion last week after a court revealed details of a vast system of bribes given to former Popular Party officials in exchange for lucrative public contracts between 1999-2005.