Mariano Rajoy: Spanish PM forced out of office

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has been forced to leave office by a vote of no confidence in parliament.

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez, who filed the motion after Rajoy’s party was implicated in a corruption scandal, will become Prime Minister.

“We’re going to sign a new page in the history of democracy in our country,” Mr. Sánchez said ahead of Friday’s vote.

Rajoy happen to be the first prime minister in modern Spanish history to be defeated in a motion of no confidence.

The leader of the conservative Popular Party has been prime minister since 2011.

Mr. Rajoy has been prime minister for more than six years

During the second day of the debate on Friday, Rajoy admitted that he was facing defeat and told the deputies that he has been “an honor to leave a better Spain than I found”.

Sanchez obtained the majority in the voting after obtaining the support of several small parties, including the Basque Nationalist Party: 180 parliamentarians backed the motion, 169 voted against, with one abstention.

Why was the vote called?

Sanchez says Rajoy, 63, was not responsible for his party’s participation in the scandal, which reappeared in the headlines last week after one of his former treasurers received a 33-year prison sentence.

The Superior Court of Madrid condemned Luis Bárcenas for receiving bribes, money laundering and tax crimes.

The case focused on a secret campaign fund that the PP executed from 1999 to 2005.

Many Spanish voters, exasperated by the corruption scandals involving the center-right PP and center-left socialist parties, abandoned them for newcomers Podemos (We Can) and centrist Citizens, as well as for regional parties.

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