Saturday, June 02, 2018

Times they are a changing

The general secretary of the Socialist Party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, became the prime minister of Spain on Friday, after his no-confidence motion filed against Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP) succeeded in gaining a majority in Congress.

The politician, who  became the first ever to win such a vote in Spain’s democratic era, managed to gain the support of the left-wing Unidos Podemos, the pro-Catalan independence groups PDeCATCatalan and Republican Left (ERC), the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the Valencia party Compromís, the Basque far-left nationalists of Bildu, and center-left Canary Islands party Nueva Canarias. The motion passed with 180 votes in favor, 169 against, and one abstention. An absolute majority of 176 votes was needed to succeed.

The new prime minister has pledged to respect the budget recently passed by the PP, which needed the support of other parties – including the PNV – for approval. Sánchez has also committed to starting a process of dialogue with parties in favor of Catalan independence, while respecting the Spanish Constitution and the regional Statute, which lays out Catalonia’s autonomous powers.

This is all about corruption.

On Thursday of last week, a court handed down sentences to 29 people with ties to the PP for embezzlement, tax evasion and other crimes related to Gürtel. The PP itself was slapped with a heavy fine after judges found that it had benefited from the corruption scheme.

However, the PSOE could hardly be described as a "clean party" whilst there are four courts investigating the Valencia socialists.

The likely outcome will be a further election because of the fragile nature of any coalition between the PSOE and other parties.

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