People’s Party leader forced to step down after no-confidence vote paving way for Socialist Pedro Sanchez to take reins.

Spain’s parliament has ousted Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote sparked by fury over his party’s corruption woes, paving the way for a takeover by opposition leader Pedro Sanchez.

An absolute majority of 180 lawmakers voted for the motion on Friday, making Rajoy the first prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote since Spain transitioned to democracy in 1977.

Speaking before the vote, Rajoy appeared to have accepted his fate and congratulated Sanchez on his new position.

“It has been an honour to to be the Prime Minister of Spain,” he said.

“It has been an honour to leave behind a better Spain than the one that I found when I took over government.

“I wish my substitute will be able to say the same.”

Matt Qvortrup, a professor of political science at Coventry University, the UK, told Al Jazeera the no-confidence vote was a sign that Spain was a “mature democracy”.

“When somebody is not behaving well, then they can be removed by democratic means that is a massive step forward from when…it was a fascist dictatorship,” he said.

“Spain has been one of the most successful countries to democratise and in some ways it’s a sign of maturity.”

Qvortrup said the corruption scandal could force a “change of guard” within Rajoy’s party and warned that Spain’s new leader would struggle to form a government due to opposition within his own party and beyond.

Sanchez’s minority government will now have to set about the task of building alliances with parties, which include an anti-austerity alliance led by Podemos and nationalist parties, notably Basque separatists.

It also faces the challenge of allaying investor fears over political stability and dealing with Catalan separatists.

Rajoy was forced out after 180 lawmakers voted to force him out of office [Sergio Perez/Reuters]

Al Jazeera’s Neeve Barker, reporting from Madrid, said Rajoy’s demise was unprecedented in recent Spanish history.

“History has been made…it’s the first time a Spanish politician has unseated a sitting prime minister in a vote of no-confidence,” our correspondent said.

“What happens next, we’re entering into uncharted territory.”

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
Nick Moore : Blogger : Dabaiba News

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