Spain PM Mariano Rajoy faces defeat in Friday no-confidence vote

Spain politics crisis

GettyThe Prime Minister insisted it was his'intention was to'carry out the mandate

Spain's new Prime Minister-elect Pedro Sanchez stands in the Spanish parliament after Friday's no-confidence vote.

The rhetoric in Spain's political crisis, in which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is nearly certain to lose a no-confidence vote Friday amid a corruption scandal engulfing his party, is turning ugly.

The end of Rajoy's more than six-year reign as prime minister was the first ouster of a serving leader by parliament in Spain's four decades of democracy.

Sanchez will be sworn in as the new prime minister over the weekend and will appoint his cabinet next week. He was replaced immediately yesterday by Pedro Sánchez, the Socialist leader.

Rajoy became Spain's first sitting prime minister to give evidence in a trial when he was called as a witness a year ago.

He made brief farewell remarks to lawmakers before the vote, telling them that "it has been an honour to leave Spain better than I found it".

Spain's Partido Popular government appeared doomed last night to lose a no-confidence vote in parliament, with the centre-left PSOE poised to take power. That ruling spelled the end of Rajoy's rule, and Sanchez was keen to portray himself as a fresh start.

The 46-year-old leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party came to power at a ceremony at the Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of Madrid, presided over by King Felipe VI.

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He has also vowed to implement the 2018 budget designed by Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) government.

When the Basque nationalist PNV party announced it would give its decisive support to a Friday vote of no-confidence to oust Rajoy over his party's corruption woes, it became all but certain to succeed.

That done, Sanchez can be sworn in as soon as Saturday as the seventh prime minister of Spain's democratic era.

A senior Spanish banker said the country was not a big worry for global markets, taking into account quarterly growth rates of around 0.7 percent.

Splits within the PSOE during his first tenure as party leader from 2014 to October 2016 had centered on Sanchez's efforts to make alliances with the new parties on both sides of the political divide - Podemos (We can) on the left and the center-right Ciudadanos. The Socialists only have 84 seats - just under a quarter of the total.

In order to cobble together the support to cast out Rajoy, Sanchez promised to open talks with Torra in order to get the votes he needed from the Catalan pro-secession lawmakers in the national parliament.

A third possibility, an early resignation by Rajoy himself to avoid the embarrassment of being ousted, was rejected Wednesday by the prime minister's office in a statement.

The no-confidence motion made odd bedfellows of 22 widely divergent parliamentary groups, including anti-establishment left-wing national parties, the political arm of the now-defunct armed Basque separatist group ETA, and regional Catalan nationalist parties hankering to negotiate an independent Catalan republic.

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