The dashing new Spanish PM
Move over Justin Trudeau, there’s a new political hunk on the scene – Pedro Sánchez is man in the hot seat in Spain
HE LOOKS as if he belongs on the cover of a glossy men’s magazine, not standing around delivering long, boring political speeches.
But make no mistake: when Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, speaks he has women the world over hanging on his every word.
Canada’s Justin Trudeau used to be considered the world’s sexiest leader, but not anymore. With the beginnings of a salt-and-pepper head of hair and classic chiselled features, Sánchez (46) looks like a cross between George Clooney and James Bond – little wonder he’s been sending the internet into meltdown.
After he was sworn in earlier this month it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to figure out why he’s affectionately known as “Señor Guapo (Mr Handsome)” back home.
“Important geopolitical news: Spain’s new prime minister is white hot!” American BuzzFeed journalist David Mack wrote on Twitter.
But who exactly is this Don Juan who’s making women go weak at the knees?
WHEN King Felipe of Spain swore Sánchez into office on 2 June the new prime minister probably had to pinch himself to check he wasn’t dreaming. Born in 1972 in Madrid to an economist father and lawyer mother, Sánchez seemed to find a career in basketball alluring as a teen.
During his high school years he landed a place in professional club Estudiantes but at age 21 he abruptly changed his path and enrolled at the Complutense University of Madrid to study economics and business.
Although he had various jobs over the years, including as an economics professor and serving as chief of staff to the UN high representative in Bosnia during the Kosovo conflict in 1999, party politics were always his passion.
He joined the Socialist Workers’ Party in 1993 when he was still a student and rose through the ranks, becoming an MP to the Congress of Deputies for Madrid in 2009.
He suffered a setback two years later when he lost his seat, but won it back in 2013.
Just a year later he was elected leader of his party but after two election defeats he was deposed in 2016, which seemingly left his political career in tatters.
But instead of sitting around licking his wounds, Sánchez sprang into action to win back support at the party’s grassroots level, and just seven months later he rose like a phoenix from the ashes to be reappointed the party’s leader.
When he led his party in initiating a vote of no confidence against former prime minister Mariano Rajoy (63), it seemed like a long shot because no Spanish leader had ever been removed in such a manner before.
‘Important news: Spain’s prime minister is white hot!’
But Rajoy was so mired in a sleazy cash-for-contracts kickback saga that Sánchez had little trouble persuading other parties such as Podemos and the Catalan nationalists to boot him out.
It’s after this that things got really interesting. In terms of the Spanish constitution, in the event of a motion of no confidence being successful, the party that initiates the vote has to replace the ruling party.
So that’s how Sánchez came to be sworn in as Spain’s seventh prime minister since the country’s return to democracy in the ’70s, even though his party enjoys less than a quarter of the seats in the country’s congress – 84 out of 350.
The astute politician has been making all the right noises since taking office.
“I’m aware of the responsibility I’m assuming and I’ll rise to all the challenges with humility and dedication,” he said. “I’m willing to modernise and transform the country and to attend to the urgent social issues of the many people who suffer inequality.”
His opponents have criticised him for his lack of a clear political vision. But his supporters say he has a talent for compromise and reckon that his background in economics will give him an advantage as he tries to sort out Spain’s financial woes.
The country, which has the fifth-largest economy in the European Union, is just emerging from a financial crisis that’s crippled it for the better part of a decade.
But making sure he stays at the pinnacle of power will un- doubtedly give him many more grey hairs – members of Rajoy’s majority People’s Party have promised they won’t make things easy for Sánchez, whom they believe “slipped in through the back door of congress”.
Yet Sánchez, a committed socialist, is already a firm favourite among Spanish women, and not just for his dashing good looks.
The announcement of his cabinet caused major waves because 11 of his 17 ministers are women – the most in the country’s history. His appointment of former astronaut Pedro Duque as the new minister of science also impressed voters.
MANY of his ardent female admirers were heartbroken to discover that there’s a Señora Guapo in the picture. Her name is María Begoña Gómez Fernández (43) and they’re happily married – in fact, many people say it’s thanks to her support and encouragement that the photogenic leader, who stands 1,9m tall, is where he is today. The pair married in 2006 and have two daughters, Ainhoa (13) and Carlota (11). María seems to have reservations about swopping her lowkey existence living in a flat in Madrid for the prime minister’s home and life in the public spotlight. Her husband’s rise up the political ladder has meant she’s had to quit her job as a company director. But it seems Sánchez goes out of his way to make up for all her sacrifices.
As if his looks, political savvy and ability to speak French and English fluently weren’t enough, María revealed he often writes her love letters, which she keeps in a small wooden chest.
Sánchez and his wife share a mutual love of exercise and sport, which probably explains why he looks so buff in his power suits.
Right now, with opposition parties warning that they’ll pull out all the stops to make sure an early election is called, Sánchez is doing everything he can to stay in his country’s top job.
And you can bet there’ll be millions of women hoping the sexy Spaniard succeeds.
Sánchez and his wife, María Begoña Gómez Fernández, have two daughters.
LEFT: A corruption scandal led to Mariano Rajoy making way for Pedro Sánchez (ABOVE), who’s getting a lot of attention for his good looks.
RIGHT: King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. The king swore Sánchez into office as the country’s prime minister on 2 June.