Mr Sánchez, who is an atheist, took the oath to protect the constitution without a bible or crucifix – a first in Spain’s modern history. He plans to see out the remaining two years of the parliamentary term.The Socialist leader won the support of six other parties to remove Mr Rajoy over a massive corruption scandal.
As Spain’s new prime minister, whose party only has a quarter of the seats in parliament, he now has to decide who to include in his cabinet and is expected to name them next week.Mr Sánchez brought about the downfall of his predecessor Mr Rajoy by filing a no confidence motion in parliament following a scandal centred on a secret campaign fund that the conservative People’s Party (PP) ran from 1999 until 2005.
Mr Rajoy is the first prime minister in modern Spanish history to be defeated in a no-confidence motion. Pedro Sánchez emerged as a virtual unknown to win the Spanish Socialist party premiership in 2014. The photogenic economist and former basketball player won members over with a promise to unite a divided party and put the Socialists back in power.
Spain’s constitution states that the party presenting a no-confidence motion must be prepared to govern and replace the deposed prime minister if a parliamentary majority backs it. Therefore, this moderate but ambitious 46-year-old from Madrid is now Spain’s prime minister, despite the fact that his party commands less than a quarter of seats in Congress.