Spain's prime minister has been forced out of office by a corruption scandal

  • The Spanish parliament has forced Mariano Rajoy out of office in a vote of no confidence.
  • Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the opposition party, is now the Spanish prime minister.
  • Rajoy’s no-confidence vote came after a court convicted his former aides of running a slush fund for his party’s campaign.
  • Rajoy admitted defeat earlier in the day before voting started.

Mariano Rajoy has been ousted as Spain’s prime minister after a parliamentary no-confidence vote forced him out of office.

Out of 350 members of parliament, 180 lawmakers voted in favour of Rajoy’s ouster, 169 voted against, and one abstained.

Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the opposition Socialist Workers’ Party, or PSOE, is now the Spanish prime minister. He tweeted on Thursday, ahead of the vote: “I propose a socialist, joint, and European government that will comply with the EU and the Constitution.”

Sanchez filed a motion for the vote of no confidence after a court convicted Rajoy’s former aides of running slush funds to help finance election campaigns for his Popular Party. Rajoy has long denied any knowledge of the funds and said he had not taken any illicit payments.

Rajoy, who became prime minister in 2011, admitted defeat before the Spanish parliament began the no-confidence vote on Friday. He told the Spanish parliament:

“It has been an honour to be the president of the Government of Spain, it has been an honour to leave Spain better than what I found. I wish my substitute could say the same when he comes. I wish it for the good of Spain.

“I think I have fulfilled the mandate of the seat, to serve the life of the people. If anyone has felt injured in this House or beyond, I apologise. Thank you all, especially to my party.

“Thank you to the Spaniards for giving me their understanding and support, and good luck to all for the good of Spain.”

Here’s his speech in Spanish:

He left the parliament building on Friday morning to applause from his supporters, even stopping to embrace some of his well-wishers.

Six opposition parties of the parliament’s lower house said on Thursday that they would reject him in Friday’s vote.

Rajoy did not attend Thursday’s parliamentary session and was found hiding out with a handful of close advisers in an upscale restaurant for about eight hours.

His removal from Spain’s premiership triggers the second major political crisis in Europe in a week, as Italy finally cobbled together a coalition after a populist election almost brought the country to the brink of chaos.

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