Socialist Pedro Sanchez sworn in as Spanish PM

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Madrid, June 2 (IANS) Spanish Socialist Pedro Sanchez was on Saturday sworn in as the new Prime Minister, a day after ousting scandal-hit political rival Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote.

Sanchez, 46, of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party was sworn in by King Felipe VI at the royal residence at the Palacio de a Zarzuela near Madrid.

Sanchez is an atheist and took the oath to protect the Constitution without a bible or crucifix — a first in Spain’s modern history, the BBC reported.

He promised to “faithfully fulfil” his duties “with conscience and honour, with loyalty to the king, and to guard and have guarded the constitution as a fundamental state rule”.

The Socialist leader won the support of six other parties to remove Rajoy over a massive corruption scandal. Rajoy was present at the ceremony, shook Sanchez’s hand and wished him good luck.

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Rajoy had been in power since 2011 as the head of the Popular Party (PP). On Friday, he became the first leader in Spain’s modern democracy to lose a no-trust vote in Parliament.

His party has been plagued with corruption allegations for years and he had faced the humiliation of testifying in cases against its members, though he was not among the accused.

Sanchez automatically became Rajoy’s replacement after presenting the motion which led to Rajoy and his right-wing party losing power in the wake of the result of the “Gurtel” corruption trial on May 24, in which the PP was found guilty of having benefited economically from wide-scale cash-for-favours scandal.

As Spain’s new leader, whose party only has a quarter of the seats in Parliament, Sanchez now has to decide who to include in his cabinet and is expected to name them next week, the report said.

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–IANS

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